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Manitoba Celebrates Mining Week 2014 with Focus on Safety

May 20, 2014
News Release – Manitoba

Province Experiencing Unprecedented Period of Mine Development: Minister Chomiak

The Province of Manitoba has declared May 18 to 24 as Mining Week to celebrate the excellent mining-safety record and the value that mining brings to the province, Mineral Resources Minister Dave Chomiak announced today.

“Safety is always top-of-mind in our mining industry and Manitoba is a global leader in emergency preparedness and response,” said Minister Chomiak.  “We are proud to have the lowest lost-time rate of any industrial sector in our economy.”

The highlight of Mining Week will be the Provincial Mine Rescue Competition on May 24 in Thompson, the minister said.  The competition tests the completeness of emergency-response plans and the competency of response personnel.  Five mine rescue teams, Hudbay/Flin Flon, Hudbay/Snow Lake, Vale, San Gold and Tanco, will compete in several categories including first aid, firefighting, knowledge, obstacle and recovery, and practical skills.

Individuals will also compete for the technician award, given to the person who demonstrates the highest level of proficiency in preparing a breathing apparatus that rescue personnel could use in emergency situations.

Minister Chomiak noted the mining industry works year-round to enhance safety by holding regular conferences and summits on mine-emergency management.  The industry establishes sound, practical safety guidelines for the workplace and also conducts ongoing research to identify hazards, mitigate risk and optimize emergency preparedness.

“Safety is our priority,” said Barrie Simoneau, director of risk management, Mines Accident Prevention Association of Manitoba.  “Our industry remains committed to responsible mining and achieving zero harm to our people.”

Manitoba is experiencing an unprecedented period of mine development with two new mines in production and several gold mines set to reopen in the next 12 to 36 months, Minister Chomiak said.  There are currently eight producing mines in the province, along with an operating smelter and two refineries.  Minerals and metals mined in Manitoba include zinc, nickel, copper, gold, cesium, aggregates, building stone, dolomite, silver, salt, lime and gypsum.

“The mining industry makes a vital contribution to our province’s economic growth with mineral and petroleum production totaling $3 billion in 2013,” said Minister Chomiak.  “The industry also employs over 6,300 Manitobans and accounts for seven per cent of provincial GDP and 8.7 per cent of total exports.”

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