Back to School: First-ever mine rescue competition in Turkey

The Back to School blog series celebrates the power of learning, and in the article below we shine a light on Turkey’s first-ever mine rescue competition organized by our very own Göksel Alpaslan, Efemçukuru’s HSE and Risk Management Manager. Göksel came up with the idea for this competition to bring together Turkey’s mine search and rescue teams to improve skills and share knowledge with colleagues from other mine sites.

TÜPRAG HSE Manager Göksel Alpaslan

Preparing for an emergency

Mines are often located far from the emergency response services found in villages and cities. That means each mine site must be self-reliant and have the equipment and training to respond if there is a mine emergency.

Mine rescue competitions are one way our employees at mine sites practice their skills. These competitions provide a valuable opportunity for mine rescue teams to experience simulated emergency situations, like underground search and rescue and fire control. They’re also an excellent way for mine rescue teams to learn from their colleagues at other organizations.

However, until this year, a mine rescue competition had never been held in Turkey.

Göksel Alpaslan proposed the idea for a national mine rescue competition when giving a presentation in December 2018 at the International Conference and Exhibition on Occupational Health and Safety in Mines organized by the Miners Association of Turkey. His idea was well-received, and an executive committee was immediately formed to plan and organize the event.

Efemçukuru hosts Turkey’s first National Mine Rescue Competition

Official Competition Inauguration Ceremony

Teams from five companies participated in the three-day event, held from September 11 to 13, 2019 at our Efemçukuru site. Trained referees from each company judged the teams for how well they responded to emergency simulation exercises in categories that included:

  • underground search and rescue,
  • fire response,
  • first aid response skills,
  • team skills,
  • vehicle accident response, and
  • respiratory kit skills.
Çayeli Copper Enterprises Mine Rescue Team

Çayeli Copper Enterprises Mine Search and Rescue Team received the award as the “Best Team” for their overall performance, including placing first in four of the categories.

“Although the name of the contest includes the word ‘competition,’ as participating mines, we did not consider this event so much a competition as an opportunity for teams to get to know each other, to compare our response skills and improve our ability to act together,” says Göksel. “Five teams participated in the competition, but at the end of the three days we transformed into a huge Rescue Team of over 30 people.”

Knowing that mine emergency responders “have your back” is important, as it is very common for companies to send their mine rescue teams to other sites if there’s a serious incident. If you’ve already built a rapport with members of other mine rescue teams, you’re definitely in a better position to work together in an emergency.

Vehicle Accident Response Activity

Looking ahead

Göksel is already thinking ahead to next year and making this an annual competition.

“We’re confident that this new event will grow in the coming years with the participation of more mining companies.”

Göksel Alpaslan

The National Mine Rescue Competition is an excellent example of Eldorado’s commitment to advancing the skills of our own employees while helping build the expertise of our fellow mine rescue responders at other mine sites across the country.

Back to School Series

And that wraps our Back to School series.

In case you missed our previous posts, you can find them here:

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