The specialist Rescue at Height team from the Lapland Rescue Department visited the Kittilä mine on March 17 to learn more about its operations and specific aspects of the expansion project, such as the shaft construction site. Through part of an extensive investment project, the facilities are due to gain a brand-new shaft that will reach a depth of 1,040 meters.
The recent rescue drill took place in an underground area at level S275’s manhole shaft. It involved saving people from that shaft via the rope rescue method, primarily by means of equipment provided by the mine’s rescue team. In addition, some members of the mine’s rescue team participated in the exercise.
The Lapland Rescue Department’s Rescue at Height team was created as a result of a pilot project focusing on ski-lift evacuation, launched in 2017. This team practices demanding rescue techniques that involve rope rescue each year. The team has 11 members, from the municipalities Kolari, Kittilä, and Sodankylä, all of whom have a position in the rescue department or are contract workers employed by it. The head firefighter with the Tornio division, Risto Tolonen, is in charge of the team.
Tolonen praises Agnico Eagle for offering the opportunity to conduct the drill: “The exercise was a great success, and it highlighted the importance of cooperation and of practicing together in precisely such special environments as the mine.” Also highly satisfied with the joint exercise was Matias Suomela, mine superintendent at the Kittilä mine. Both Tolonen and Suomela find it very important to continue the cooperation in the future, too.