By JAMES KILA
BASAMUK ahhh!!!…that war cry turned to one of jubilation on Wednesday, Oct 4, when Ramu NiCo Team One of Basamuk Refinery was announced the overall winner of the PNG Extractive Industries Emergency Response Challenge staged in Madang.
It was indeed a remarkable achievement for the team comprising six men and one woman. Captain Venancius Sapak and his deputy Gabriel Nalek led their team comprising of responders Naomi Kong, Channel Singan, Bresme Gunailem, Kiak Kombong and Robert Apelis.
“It was unbelievable, it’s just great and we are all so happy,” said Singan.
Singan, was so optimistic that night that as soon as the announcement was made after the obligatory drum roll, he couldn’t help but sashay up to the podium.
The win by the Ramu NiCo Team One from Basamuk is the first-ever since the event started came under the stewardship of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum. The PNG Extractive Industries Emergency Response Challenge began in 2011 and was conducted then by Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).
This year’s challenge saw teams coming in from Ok Tedi Mining Limited, two teams from Newcrest Lihir Gold, Porgera Joint Venture, Harmony Gold, Ramu NiCo Kurumbukari Mine (Team 2) and Ramu NiCo Basamuk (Team One) and Simberi Gold mine.
Guests at the presentation night included the Goilala MP William Samb, who represented the Mining minister and Sumkar MP, Chris Nangoi. Other notable guests included the President of the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Gerea Aopi, executive director Dr. Albert Mellam, managing director of MRA Philip Samar, and executive managers of the mining companies in the country.
Aopi in his address commended Ramu NiCo Team One for their win and also acknowledged the teams from the various extractive industries for participating in the event.
He said the level of emphasis placed on making sure equipment and personnel are safe is second to none. As such, emergency response teams must be highly trained and fully equipped to respond to emergencies whether it be in a mine pit or right in remote locations where exploration activities are conducted.
He said the 2017 challenge held at the PNG Maritime College provided the participants many great experiences and lessons on safety. The event exposed, not only the teams taking part, but all to new methods and equipment to improve skills and address knowledge gaps on operating in safe and secure work environments in our respective companies.
Furthermore, the Challenge provided the teams an opportunity to develop and maintain competent emergency response resources while also exposing them to new methods and equipment that will improve their skills and address any knowledge gaps.
A colourful welcome was accorded to the champs when they sailed into Basamuk Port with the trophy on board the company’s ferry.
A fire engine was stationed at the wharf to shower the Ramu NiCo ferry MV Carrie as it carried members of the champion team to berth while colleagues lined the wharf to greet them and have a feel of the silverware.
“We won it for Ramu NiCo, Basamuk and Madang and the challenge is now upon us to continue to do our best to defend the title in 2019 in the next challenge” Sapak said.
Basamuk Refinery registered manager Bill Hill accompanied the team with the trophy into Basamuk Bay, and told other workers that the ERT champs are now the pride of Ramu NiCo.
Basamuk Refinery Site Health, Safety and Environment General Manager Wayne Basson, on behalf of the team, said he is thankful to the RamuNiCo (MCC) management, who remain very supportive in ensuring Ramu NiCo teams received formal (RTO) training – such as the Certificate III in Mine Emergency Response and Rescue, as well as ensuring that both Basamuk and Kurumbukari were well equipped with specialized Emergency Response gear and on-site training facilities.
“Here at RamuNiCo, we’ve had some great results, such as at Kavieng where we won several trophies and an overall third place, and other times, such as in 2015 when we came up against some mighty teams including Oil Search, who dominated the competition,” said Basson.
“We faced strong opposition this year but we manage to win the challenge.”
“The team really trained hard in the blazing sun to hone their skills, and also prepared themselves for the very hot conditions during the challenge in Madang,” he added.
All the members of this year’s Ramu NiCo ER team that attended the challenge received Certificate Three Mine Emergency Response recognition following intensive training at the PNG Maritime College and the Madang Operations Base of Ramu NiCo (MCC) from August 14-31 this year.
The first part of the training was conducted by Brad Bull, and the second part by Scott Jude, both experienced trainers from W.E.S.T Rescue.
W.E.S.T Rescue is an Australian nationally recognized Registered Training Organization (RTO) which provides quality emergency services and rescue training specifically designed for mine-site personnel.
To thank the winners, the management of Basamuk Refinery hosted a banquet for the them at its function room. The trophy is currently being displayed at the Basamuk Refinery ERT station.
- James Kila is a PR officer at Ramu Nico.