The 300 dinner guests at this week’s Mid-Canada Mining Corridor Conference Banquet in Flin Flon, Man., will be required to add a couple of unusual accessories to their black-tie ensemble. “Everyone has to wear a hard hat and safety glasses,” says Dave Kennedy, who chairs the mining conference. “We decided to have this year’s dinner in a working mine and the mining inspector requires us to dress properly.”
Some of the industry’s biggest names will join underground workers and mayors from mining towns for the May 14 “Dinner in the Dark,” which for the first time will be served 30 m below the surface. The zinc and copper mine, which is owned by the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., will be in full operation until 8 a.m. on the morning of the dinner. Then, most of
the heavy equipment will be moved out and a staff of 30 will clean an area and set up 30 tables. “Some of the equipment will be left to give the room character, including a 120-tonne rock truck and a few rock drills,” says Kennedy, who adds that other areas
of the mine will still be in operation during the dinner and diners will hear the noise of the machinery in the background.
A red carpet will lead guests down a ramp and into the “dining hall” (about the size of a football field) where tables will be fitted with white tablecloths and candles. As well, a string quartet will
play dinner music as guests feast on prime rib. The meal will be prepared off-site and lowered into the dining room in the back of a sanitized explosives truck. The only thing missing is the wine. In such a dangerous environment, all precautions are taken so guests don’t drink and drill.
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