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Mine Over Matter - 29th Annual Mine Rescue Competition

>>LARRY REBMAN: The most valuable commodity in a mine is the miner, and the men and women who are involved in this competition are working to make sure that they are properly trained so when a tragedy strikes they can go out and save their fellow miners.  There are 13 teams from all over the United States.  Each team is composed of seven individuals and they’re working through a realistic, lifelike scenario in an actual mine here in Rolla.

>>DAVID WEAVER: Basically, we put the competition together to help the miner rescue teams to prepare in case there is an emergency or a disaster that occurs in one of the local mines or there may be mines throughout the United States, as well.

>>REBMAN: There’s a variety of problems that these guys have to go through in order to safely evacuate someone from a mine disaster.

>>WORKER: This is what you might have to live in for three weeks or four weeks.  You gotta be prepared to stay in there until they come get you.

>>CASEY SLAUGHTER: Mine rescue’s not just rescue.  It’s more if there’s kind of a unique situation that is outside of the normal bounds of mining.  Mine rescue teams are the specialists that come in and try to resolve the situation.

>>WEAVER: We were having over 150 fatalities a year.  Now we have around 25 a year or so.  We’ve worked very hard in getting that number down and continue to strive to get that number down to even lower numbers.

>>REBMAN: Our investigators and inspectors and trainers are some of the best in the nation and we go around the United States training and assisting in these mining competitions.

>>WEAVER: It’s a good camaraderie, good opportunity for them to come together.  When you have a contest it’s an opportunity for teams to have a little bit of pressure on them.  They really respond to that.

>>REBMAN: But they’re here for one particular reason, and that is to save lives and go in and help people who are involved in a mining disaster.