Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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June 1, 2014

Mine rescue teams compete for safety

BLUEFIELD — Mine rescue teams competed at Bluefield State College Saturday for the Eighth annual Mine Rescue Competition sponsored by Center for Applied Research and Technology (CART) along with Welch Post No. 1 of the National Mine Rescue Association, “the Smoke Eaters.”

Mine rescue teams from throughout the region compete in the annual exercise to learn from one another and to hone critical skills that will be put to the test when disaster strikes.

This year 14 teams competed in the competition. Teams are given a timed scenario and judged on how well they perform. Teams will be docked for their mistakes and the team with the best time and least amount of mistakes is the winner, CART CEO Bruce Mutter explained.

“This competition allows them to practice and apply what they have learned and be able to provide safety to the mining industry,” Mutter explained. “The teams will experience real-life situations just as if there was a real emergency.”

The team that wins will take home a trophy and the bragging rights, Mutter said.

The teams that competed in the competition included Mountain Laurel Green from Mountain Laurel Coal, Leer Mine White from ACI Tygart Valley/Leer Mine, Sentinel Mine Blue from Arch Coal Sentinel Complex, Tri-State A and Tri-State B from Tri-State Coal Operators, Buchanan Red and Buchanan Black from Consol Buchanan Mining Co., Pinnacle Blue and Pinnacle White from Cliffs Natural Resources, Pocahontas Mine Rescue from Pocahontas Coal Company, Coal River from Coal River Energy, Southern West Virginia from Alpha Natural Resources and Arch Coal Blue Team and Gold Team from Arch Coal Beckley.

The first-place winner of this year’s mine rescue competition was Cliffs Natural Resources’ Pinnacle White team. Second place went to Cliffs Natural Resources’ Pinnacle Blue team and third place was awarded to Consol Buchanan Mining Co., LLC Buchanan Black team.

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