by Carrie B. Moritomo
Santa Fe, NM, Aug. 27, 2007 – The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NMDHSEM), in conjunction with New Mexico Tech Bureau of Mine Safety, hosted a mine safety meeting today to introduce underground and major surface mine operators to the incident command system and statewide response capabilities of NMDHSEM.
“The purpose of today’s meeting is to foster a relationship between our agency and the mining operators of New Mexico, so in the future we will be able to collaborate and operate in a seamless fashion during an emergency,” said Tim Manning, Director, New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“This meeting had been pre-established prior to the tragedy that occurred in Utah,” said Terence Foreback, NM State Mine Inspector, “But I feel Utah has added to the urgency to what we are trying to accomplish.”
The objective of this meeting was to familiarize underground and major surface mine operators with incident management system and facilitate the sharing of emergency response plans amongst the attendees. Future meetings will focus on planning, training, and exercise to enable mine operators to be ready for a response situation. The operators also requested further training on the warning and public information component during emergencies and disasters. NMDHSEM will offer training on emergency public information at an upcoming meeting.
The mining companies present at the meeting were BHP Billiton, Chevron Mining Inc. McKinley Mine, WIPP/Washington TRU Solutions, Mosaic Potash, Chevron Mining Inc. Molycorp, Intrepid Potash, PD Chino Mines, and PD Tyrone Mining. The Department of Labor’s Mining and Safety Health Administration was also in attendance.
NMDHSEM is responsible for coordinating the state’s response to natural or man made disasters. The department is the access point for mobilization of state resources during a disaster or emergency and is the bridge for assistance from the federal government to local governmental entities in times of disaster.