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Hudbay Flin Flon team takes provincial mine rescue gold

Hudbay’s Flin Flon mine rescue team has defended its title as the best in the province.
N22 Mine Rescue
Members of the winning Hudbay Flin Flon mine rescue team pose with their hardware after winning the Manitoba Provincial Mine Competition May 28. In back, from left are Gary Annett, Stacy Kennedy, Tracy Knutson, Dustin Patterson, George Warman, Rob Johnson, Trevor Thurstan, and Richard Trudeau. In front are Joel Chupik, Rian Bayless, Steve MacArthur, Darren Lyhkun and Marshall Manns.

Hudbay’s Flin Flon mine rescue team has defended its title as the best in the province.

The Hudbay Flin Flon team finished first in the Manitoba Provincial Mine Rescue Competition May 27-28, held in Thompson. It was the first competition of its kind held since 2019, which was hosted in Flin Flon - and won by the same local Hudbay crew.

The event pitted four Manitoba-based mine rescue teams - Hudbay Flin Flon, Hudbay Snow Lake, Vale Manitoba Operations’ Thompson-based crew and Tantalum Mining, based out of Lac du Bonnet - against each other in a series of skill-testing competitions. The first day saw the four teams take part in an underground and first aid mine rescue mission, as well as write a written exam. Day two would include firefighting tests and a technician’s competition, with a practical skills competition held later in the day.

At the end of the two-day competition, the Flin Flon team would return home victorious.

This year’s Hudbay team consisted of captain George Warman, number two Steve MacArthur, number three Rob Johnson, number four Rian Bayless, vice-captain and technician Dustin Patterson, director of operations Darren Lyhkun, spare member Joel Chupik, coach Trevor Thurstan and instructors Tracy Knutson and Marshall Manns.

“We are proud of how the Manitoba mining industry continues to move forward with ongoing improvement regarding emergency preparedness, crisis management and risk prevention,” said Richard Trudeau, president of the Mining Association of Manitoba Inc. (MAMI) and director of human resources, Indigenous and external affairs for Hudbay.

“Without mine rescue teams that meet stringent standards and training requirements, underground mines cannot operate.”

Sadly, Hudbay’s Flin Flon crew will be unable to defend its title next year due to the pending closure of the company’s 777 mine and much of its surface operations. Some closing procedures have already begun at the mine, with work winding down until a full shutdown later this summer. The next provincial mine rescue competition will take place in Snow Lake next year, where Hudbay is centering most of its northern Manitoba operations.

Members of the Flin Flon crew will be eligible to participate in the National Western Region Mine Rescue Competition in Fernie, B.C. in Sept. 2023. The competition is held every two years, but was not held last year due to the pandemic.