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While working in the mining sector, Éric Bourque found that miners were rather poorly equipped in case of fire in the galleries of a mine.

It was then that he designed a unique survival tent.

After having devoted nearly 20 months of work, the Rouynorandian officially launched his company, Karzelek, and his invention, K911.

The survival tent will not be marketed to replace safety protocols already in place in mines, but will be an additional means of protecting miners when a fire breaks out.

“One of the biggest risks for miners is smoke caused by fire. But they do not own anything to protect themselves in an emergency. There are already fixed shelters and large underground survival tents that can accommodate eight to ten miners, but they are in specific locations. My invention allows underground workers to protect themselves from the smoke while waiting for the mine rescue teams, “explained Éric Bourque. Because of his work experience, he realized that every miner had to be equipped in a way that would protect him/her from the smoke if he/she could not get to one of the shelters.

“With my invention, I aim to increase the chances of survival of miners if they are isolated in a mine site and the smoke is heading towards them,” said Bourque.


When a fire breaks out, the worker who spots it must report it to the mine checkpoint. At this point, a foul-smelling mercaptan gas is emitted into the ventilation system to alert workers.  “The smell of rotten eggs warns the miners that they must stop working, shut down all the machinery and leave the site on foot to the ramp,” said Éric Bourque. The problem is that they do not know at what point the level of the problem, or even it’s a fire. They may go to the shelter and suddenly find themselves facing the fire. If you see the smoke coming in your direction, you almost have no time to react because of the ventilation system, the air circulates quickly. ” The K911 was invented for these specific cases. “There are compressed air hoses every 500-600 feet in the galleries, said Mr. Bourque. I had the idea to use these facilities to design a system that would reduce the risk of minors breathing too much smoke. “


Over the last 20 months, Mr. Bourque has made various attempts to patent his invention, which he succeeded. “For now, I have a provisional patent that protects me for a year,during which I can make modifications to my prototype, but I will drop my official patent application by the month of April, he said. By going to the Office of the propertyI realized with an employee that no one in the world had thought of asystem that was similar to mine.”


During the design of his K911, Éric Bourque consulted various mining companies in order to know their opinion on the product and to obtain comments in order to improve it to exactly meet their needs.Its primary objective is to focus on the Quebec and Ontario markets.Éric Bourque remains aware, however, that many Canadian mining companies are operating mines in other countries and that its invention has the potential to spread worldwide.