paramont contura governor's cup

Left to right, front row: Eric Collins, Brian Keith, Nate Clark, Harry Childress (VCEA). Back row: Ronnie Biggerstaff, Ben Harding (MSHA), Paris Charles, Brad Hawkins, Tim Watkins (MSHA), Adam Phillips, Casey Mooneyhan, Robby Middleton, Alan Dupree, Frankie Moore, Randy Moore.

Alden Resources took top honors last week in the 33rd annual Virginia Governor’s Cup Mine Rescue and Safety Contest.

But because the team is based in Kentucky, second place team Paramont Contura was awarded the Virginia Governor’s Cup.

The competition, held on the campus of University of Virginia’s College at Wise, was co-hosted by the Virginia Coal and Energy Alliance, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy and the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.

The mine rescue teams competed to conduct rescue and recovery operations in a staged mine disaster scenario laid out in the David J. Prior Convocation Center. Team members donned 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.

Individual coal miners also competed in the bench and preshift competitions. The preshift competition is designed for mine foreman and judges their ability to identify and rid the coal mine of any problems. Foreman do this check before the beginning of each shift to ensure the safety of their crews.

The bench competition has miners looking for problems in the breathing gear their team uses. Competitors need to quickly identify discrepancies that could put their teammates at risk if it causes the pack to not properly function.

“This competition is so much more than a test of lifesaving skills,” noted Virginia Mine Chief Randy Moore. “This is an opportunity for comradery among Virginia’s mine rescue teams and a chance for them to learn from one another. Should an emergency occur they would all be working side by side. Knowing the faces of those with you in an emergency can make a difficult situation better.”

Overall results were:

• First Place Team: Alden Resources.

• Governor’s Cup/ Second Place Team: Paramont Contura.

• Bench First Place: BG4: Tony Lloyd, BlackJewel.

• Bench First Place: 240R: Shannon Moore, Wellmore.

• Pre-Shift: Franklin Moore, Paramont Contura.

• Second Place: Steve Countiss, BlackJewel.

Virginia Governor’s Cup Teams: Alden Resources, Buchanan Red, Buchanan Black, BlackJewel, Greenbrier Minerals, Nicholas Contura, Paramont Contura, Southern Pocahontas, Virginia Small Operators Mine Rescue and Wellmore.