NSW mines undertake COVID-19 emergency exercises

The New South Wales Resources Regulator has completed a virtual emergency response exercise with mines from the Cobar and Nyngan areas.

The first session of exercise “pandemineium” was undertaken in April through a combined effort between the regulator, mining companies in Broken Hill, NSW Police and NSW Health.

Sessions focus on testing the emergency response of mining personnel facing an underground mine emergency during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at strengthening the industry’s understanding of pandemic-specific issues.

A virtual underground mine collapse is also used in the exercise along with a rescue operation simulation.

Participants are required to explain their responsibilities during the collapse, while shedding light on any new procedures used to simultaneously reduce the risk of COVID-19.

The exercise was remotely conducted by the resources regulator from Maitland along with participation from Cobar, Broken Hill and underground mining operations in the surrounding area.

Conversations between the mining industry, NSW Health, emergency services and regulators led to the creation of the pandemineium training sessions, based on discussions about new procedures and processes to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the way some can affect a mine emergency response.

“The benefits of recent (internal) exercises held by the resources regulator identified an opportunity to similarly test, in a multi-agency mode, the ability to respond to a major mining incident in remote and regional areas of the state,” the NSW Resources Regulator stated.