Mineral Exploration

Winter 2013

Mineral Exploration is the official publication of the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/225045

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Page 109 of 119

>> health & Safety Safe sledding Are you prepared to weather a storm? Health & Safety Committee, AME BC Blizzard conditions are common in northern climates, but how one acts in a mineral exploration setting can make the difference between a postive outcome and a tragedy. In the case of a drill rig employee who became lost on a snowmobile, a combination of preparation and instinct led to a good ending. On May 14, 2013, Michel Justin Pilon and three co-workers were following a marked trail by snowmobile to a drill rig at the Meliadine project near Rankin Inlet in Nunavut. It was snowing, and visibility was restricted to about 500 metres. Pilon did not arrive at the rig and was reported missing. A rescue effort was launched, but the search was hampered due to blizzard conditions that developed during the day. Two days later, at 10:30 in the evening, rescuers found Pilon alive and safe in an igloo-like shelter he had built. He received medical observation in Rankin Inlet and then flew home to be reunited with his wife and family. As his employer, Richard O'Brien, president and CEO of Boart Longyear, stated, "We are very gratified that Mr. Pilon was able to apply his instincts and training to withstand harsh weather conditions and survive under very difficult conditions. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family as they reunite. Our corporate culture places the highest priority on the safety of employees and customers and includes ongoing training for all of our drillers. That culture, combined with Mr. Pilon's personal experience in the far North, attention to his own safety and resourcefulness, allowed Mr. Pilon to survive a harrowing experience." Pilon's story demonstrates the need for training that is appropriate for the conditions on a mineral exploration property – in this case, winter conditions lasting well into May in northern Canada. 110   p110-111_Safety.indd 110   w i n t e r Additionally, although the snowmobile is a useful tool for mineral exploration, it does bring with it some unique challenges. Note the following guidelines adapted from AME BC's soon-to-bereleased fifth edition of Safety Guidelines for Mineral Exploration in Western Canada. General Guidelines • Travel in pairs where possible. • Communicate expected route and arrival/check-in times. • Wear safety helmets, faceguards and suitable eye protection. • Be aware of the effects of wind chill on exposed skin and dress accordingly. Learn the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and its treatment; hypothermia is the greatest hazard encountered with snow vehicle travel. • Maintain a safe speed and keep the snowmobile under control. • Avoid areas where avalanches are possible. Travel in heavily treed areas, tops of ridges, or flat areas Watch out for reduced visibility while on snowmobiles – whether in the open or in the trees. 2 013 Illustration : Heather Brown 13-11-27 10:19 AM

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