“The mining industry all around the globe faces safety and health challenges,” said J. Davitt McAteer, assistant U.S. secretary of labor for mine safety and health, at the second International Mines Rescue Competition (IMRC) in 2000. “These challenges are more difficult in some parts of the world than in others. . . The bottom line, of course, is that we all can learn from each other.”
The concept of training through competition has been a mainstay of mine rescue organizations around the world for decades, while the philosophy of nations learning from each other has been the foundation of international competition since the inaugural International Mines Rescue Competition in 1999.
The original initiative for international competitions came from Poland in the aftermath of the February 1998 tragedy that claimed the lives of six Polish mine rescuers. The same tragedy led to the creation of the International Mines Rescue Body, which continues to meet every two years to promote mine rescue and to improve mine rescue knowledge and practices by supporting global cooperation.
The IMRC has grown in size and importance since Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Canada were represented at the first IMRC in Louisville, Kentucky. The competition was organized by the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration and won by an American team.
Twenty-one teams representing 13 nations, including Canada, Russia, China, Poland, Australia and other major mining nations, competed at the 9th IMRC in Katowice, Poland in 2014. Other major mining countries, including the United States, Ukraine, and Germany were represented by observers and guests.
In August 2016, approximately 27teams representing 13 nations continued the tradition of learning from each other at the 10th International Mines Rescue Competition in Sudbury, Canada.
We look forward to IMRC 2018 in Russia.