Third International Mine Rescue Conference nears

NEXT weekend rescue teams and the international mining community will descend upon Nashville for the third International Mine Rescue Conference and Contest, the first time the US will play host to the event.
Third International Mine Rescue Conference nears Third International Mine Rescue Conference nears Third International Mine Rescue Conference nears Third International Mine Rescue Conference nears Third International Mine Rescue Conference nears

Courtesy US Mine Rescue Association

Donna Schmidt

Hosted by the US Department of Labor and co-sponsored by the National Mining Association, the gathering will take place August 30 to September 1 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

Included as featured speakers will be US Department of Labor secretary Elaine Chao; Mine Safety and Health Administration head Richard Stickler; National Mining Association vice-president Bruce Watzman; National Workplace Emergency Management Center general director Wang Zhijian, representing the Mine Rescue Command Center for China's State Administration of Work Safety; Poland State Mining Authority president Piotr Buchwald; and Murray Bird, who served as the 2005 International Mines Rescue Conference chair and holds the position of general manager for Mines Rescue in New South Wales, Australia.

The majority of the event's kick-off day will be made up of keynote presentations by the featured presenters, beginning at 9am local time.

By mid-afternoon, an internationally diverse group of presenters will begin to take the podium for the three-day gathering, including Mine Rescue Laboratory head Arthur Gaman and scientific researcher Daniel Pupazan for Romania's National Institute for Mine Safety and Explosion Proof Protection. They will speak on 'Romanian Legislature in Field on Mine Rescue'. Wrapping up the day will be Draeger Canada's Ken Thom, who will present 'Resuscitation and Transport of a Trapped Miner'.

The second conference day will begin with US-based researcher Michael Brnich of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health regarding the 'Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Evaluation of New Technologies for Mine Rescue Training', followed by South Africa's Christo De Klerk, who serves as general manager of Mines Rescue Service.

'Mobilizing Mines Rescue Teams' will be presented by Queensland State Rescue state manager Wayne Hartley, and the morning will wrap up with BHP Billiton's Dave Hales of the US presenting the case study 'Enhancing the Self-Contained Self-Rescuer Program at San Juan Coal Company' and Mines Rescue PTY training officer Jamie Bashford of Australia, who will speak about 'An Introduction to In-Seam Guidelines'.

The afternoon's conference schedule will include China Mine Rescue Brigade squadron leader Luo Dongsheng on 'Case Study on Fire Accident Disposal' and Mines and Aggregates Safety and Health Association mine rescue manager Alex Gryska on 'MASHA's Ontario Mine Rescue Program'.

Highlighting the last portion of the day’s itinerary will be Deutsche Steinkohle Ag Mine rescue centre head George Bresser, who will speak about 'Organization and Equipment of German Mine Rescue Brigades Men' and Draeger Germany's focus group responder Axel Bahr on 'Rescue Mask with Drinking Device BG4'.

August 31 will be another full day of presentations by industry experts, commencing with Colorado Division of Reclamation mine rescue coordinator Harry Lovely, who will provide information on 'From Mine Rescue Contest Procedures to Emergency Response Decision Making for Actual Mine Rescue Use'.

Also appearing that morning will be Mines Rescue operations manager David Connell of Australia, presenting 'Facilitating Effective Underground Emergency Decision Making'.

Of the many talks on tap for the afternoon, the itinerary will be heavily focused on case studies. These include Jim Walter Resources' Dale Byram on 'Mine Rescue and Recovery', and China Academy of Engineering professional Zhang Tiegang with 'An Application of Nitrogen Injection Technology for Fire Extinguishing in Coal Mines'.

The third and final day of the event is a partial day, as the event will adjourn at approximately 12.30pm local time. Attendees will hear from MSHA's John Urosek on 'Mine Rescue Scenarios' and Vaclav Smicka, who will discuss details of plans for the 2009 conference, followed by closing remarks from chairman Allen Dupree.

"We are honoured to host the third International Mine Rescue Conference for mining professionals from around the world who share MSHA's goal of efficient, safe and successful mine rescue," MSHA assistant secretary Richard Stickler said earlier this year.

"The conference provides a unique opportunity for American mine rescue experts and their international counterparts to discuss mine rescue techniques and other issues relevant to the enhanced safety and health of working miners everywhere."