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‘Own your own Ground’: Changing Ground at K3

April 27, 2023

The depth of Mosaic’s K3 mine demands more attention to manage ground conditions for the crews working a kilometre under the earth’s surface. K3 is 150 to 300 feet deeper than K1 and K2, and the increased depth results in shifting conditions which adds a new challenge for Mosaic employees that requires a strict adherence to safety procedures. 

K3 Sr. Mine Manager, Brad Danylko said because of added safety precautions at K3, every shift starts and ends with the same question, “Did you check your ground?”

“It’s the first question at the beginning of the day and a common question that’s asked throughout the day to ensure it’s at the top of everyone’s minds,” said Brad.

Because of the depth of K3, more attention to ground conditions is required than at K1 and K2.  

As a result, Brad implemented “Own Your Ground,” a program designed to keep ground conditions top-of-mind for underground crews. “The ownership is on all of us to ensure we do our due diligence of checking the ground in our work areas,” said Brad. “It’s the right thing to do for yourself, your partner, your people, and your families to ensure we all go home safely every day.”

Crew underground in K3 driving to a 4-rotar miner next to the extensible conveyor belt.

The program not only focuses on increasing the knowledge and capabilities of the K3 underground workforce by inspecting their areas, it also provides the tools they need to work safely.  Crews use solid-core aluminum scaling bars in various lengths to check the ground conditions by applying pressure to surfaces with the bars. These bars have been spread throughout K3 and are placed on all motorized vehicles for employees to easily use. Another addition to heightening awareness around ground control are pocket safety cards that read, "Did you Check Scale Today?" 

Trevor Lippai is the Ground Control Operational Superintendent at K3, and helps the mine manage and adapt to the ever-changing ground conditions. “Learning how the ground reacts and why it reacts the way it does is key to understanding the ground,” said Trevor. K3 has a patrol that conducts monthly ground checks to spot inconsistencies in any ground movement from the previous month. 

The feedback from the employees at K3 has been positive, and “Own Your Ground” is a staple in the daily routines. 

These practices at K3 were implemented after collaborating with experts at Mosaic’s Colonsay mine, which also experiences changes in ground conditions. 

“At the end of the day, we are all here doing a job and wanting to return to our families safely,” said Trevor.

Did you know:

In March 2023, K3 received a Safety Achievement Award from the Saskatchewan Mining Association