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Southwest Virginia Mine Rescue Teams Win Numerous Awards



By Greg Jordan

August 11, 2017 - Southwest Virginia mine rescue teams won numerous awards during the recent Virginia Mining Institute’s Mine Rescue Competition.

Wellmore Energy Company’s Wellmore Red Team, from Grundy, Virginia, took top honors in the Virginia Mining Institute’s Mine Rescue Competition held Aug. 8-10 at the Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Community Center. The rescue and safety contest was sponsored by the Virginia Mining Institute (VMI). The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Kentucky mine officials, Ohio mine officials, West Virginia mine officials and several volunteers including retired mine rescue alumni helped at the event.

The teams competed to conduct rescue and recovery operations in a staged mine disaster scenario. Team members wore full mine rescue gear, including oxygen breathing apparatus, to determine underground mine conditions, construct ventilation controls and locate and extract accident “victims”.

The teams were judged on their thoroughness in recording mine conditions on a map as they advanced into the “mine” and their ability to identify and respond to hazards that could endanger the team or trapped miners.

Virginia’s Mine Chief Randy Moore said this training is the best for preparing mine rescue teams for emergencies.

“This competition really challenges our teams while building trust and comradery,” Moore said. “Those involved in this contest make sure these miners walk away prepared to answer the call should a mine emergency occur in Virginia. We are grateful for everyone’s efforts.”

“We take this opportunity to test our teams,” said Chief Judge Wayne Davis. “This competition makes sure they can physically endure responding to emergencies and can think quickly on their feet when presented with difficult scenarios.”

Miners also competed in a First Aid skills competition, a bench contest in which they identify problems within breathing apparatuses and a preshift competition in which mine foreman assure the mine is safe before others come into work.

Awards were presented on Thursday at a banquet at Custom Catering. The winners included the following teams:

• Grand Champion of Mine Rescue: Wellmore Energy Red Team

• First Runner-Up of Mine Rescue: Alden Resources Team

• Second Runner-Up of Mine Rescue: Paramont Contura

• First Place Mine Rescue Team Day 1: Wellmore Energy Red Team

• Second Place Team Day 1: Buchanan Minerals Black Team

• Third Place Team Day 1: DMME Regulators

• First Place Mine Rescue Team Day 2: Contura Energy, Paramont Contura

• Second Place Mine Rescue Team Day 2: Alden Resources Team

• Third Place Mine Rescue Team Day 2: Wellmore Red Team

• First Aid First Place: Alden Resources Team

• Bench First Place: BG4- Scot Jordan, Drummond Company

• Bench Second Place: BG4- Jackie Dillon, Buchanan Minerals Red Team

• Bench Third Place: BG-4- Shaun Bailey, Buchanan Minerals Black Team

• Bench First Place: 240R- Caleb Scheoff, Wellmore Energy

• Bench Second Place: 240R- Shannon Moore, Wellmore Energy

• Bench Third Place: 240R- Robert New, Greenbriar Minerals

• Pre-Shift First Place: Kevin Yeary, Paramont Contura

• Pre-Shift Second Place: Brian Keith, Paramont Contura

• Pre-Shift Third Place: Jimmie Bonner, Drummond Company




Mine Rescue Teams


• Alden Resources, LLC - Alden Resources Team, Corbin, Ky.

• Buchanan Minerals LLC- Buchanan Black Team, Oakwood, Va.

• Buchanan Minerals LLC- Buchanan Red Team, Oakwood, Va.

Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME)

• The Regulators, Big Stone Gap, Va.

• Contura Energy- Paramont Contura, Norton Va

• Drummond Company, Inc.- Shoal Creek Black Team, Cordova, Ala.

• Greenbrier Minerals, LLC- Central Appalachian Mine Rescue, Lyburn, W.Va.

• Southern Pocahontas- Cherokee- Pineville, W.Va.


 Wellmore Energy Company- Wellmore Red Team, Grundy, Va. 


The Wellmore Energy Company’s Wellmore Red Team, from Grundy, Virginia, took top honors in the Virginia Mining Institute’s Mine Rescue Competition held August 8-10. Pictured left to right in the back row is Philip Hale, Virginia Mining Institute; Bill Carroll, Bill Slone, Terry McClanahan, Todd Ward, Ethan Wibel, Randy Moore Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. In the front row is Will Altizer, Shannon Moore, Caleb Schoeff and Chris Turner.