RICHLANDS, Va. — Eighteen Virginia mine rescue teams will participate in the 27th annual Governor’s Cup Mine Rescue and Safety Contest beginning at 7 a.m. on June 1 on the campus of Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands.
The rescue and safety contest is co-sponsored by the Virginia Mining Association, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals & Energy, and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.
The teams will compete in realistic timed and judged exercises involving mine “disaster” scenarios where they will be expected to enter a mockup mine to conduct rescue and recovery operations.
Team members wear full rescue gear as they determine mine conditions, construct ventilation controls and locate and extract accident victims.
Teams are judged on thoroughness in recording mine conditions on a map as they advance into the mine and their ability to identify and respond to hazards that could endanger the team or trapped miners.
A special treat this year will be the introduction of Ginny by Alpha Natural Resources. Ginny is the first canine specifically trained to perform search and rescue in both underground and surface mining operations. This will be the first appearance for Alpha’s rescue dog. Her trainer, handler and members of Alpha’s mine rescue teams will be on hand to answer questions.
“The mine rescue contest is open to the general public and we welcome anyone who would like to observe the teams as they demonstrate their important skills,” said VMA Executive Director John Belcher.
“We will also have a number of exhibitors on site who will be displaying a variety of mining related products and services,” he said.
Sponsors and exhibitors include American Mine Research, Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co., CONSOL Energy, Cumberland River Coal Co., Dickenson-Russell Coal Co., Dominion Power, EMI, Kennametal, National Mine Rescue Association Post 7, Rish Equipment Co., and Victualic.
Companies entering teams in this year’s competition include Cumberland Resources, Cumberland River Coal Co., Dickenson-Russell Coal Co., Jewell Smokeless Coal Corp., CONSOL Energy Inc., Knox Creek Coal Corp., Lone Mountain Processing Inc., Maxxim Shared Services LLC, TECO Coal Co., Wellmore Coal Co. and Virginia Small Operator Mine Rescue.
DMME and MSHA staff will judge the contest.