The receivers of the Pike River Coal mine are still
considering the option of re-opening the mine.
Receiver John Fisk of PricewaterhouseCoopers said today one
option was to temporarily seal the mine while other
longer-term options were evaluated.
The receivers were still considering the option of eventually
re-opening the mine so that it could again be a major
employer and contribute substantially to the West Coast
economy, he said.
Mr Fisk, David Bridgman and Malcolm Hollis, partners from
PricewaterhouseCoopers, were appointed receivers on December
"As receivers, our principal role is to achieve the financial
returns for the company's secured lenders.
"However, in the case of Pike River Coal Ltd, we are very
aware of the extenuating circumstances surrounding not only
the company but also the families and the West Coast
community, and the implications of the company's receivership
on all parties," he said.
Today, Prime Minister John Key said the mine would probably
"It's likely that the mine would be sealed, but it would be
up to the receivers if it would be sealed permanently," Mr
Families of the mine victims say the operation to recover the
bodies of the 29 men has been stopped too soon.
The men died in a series of explosions, the first on November
19, in the coal mine about 50km from Greymouth, and efforts
to recover the bodies have continued for the past two months.
Police Commissioner Howard Broad yesterday announced police
were stopping their recovery operation -- handing over the
onus and the ongoing costs of the operation -- to receivers
of Pike River Coal.
Mr Broad said there was little chance the bodies would ever
be recovered from their tomb, 2km inside the Paparoa Range,
and that experts had advised the likelihood of getting into
the mine safely was unrealistic.
Spokesman for the victims' families Bernie Monk said it was
too soon to stop the operation, and that the GAG (Gorniczy
Agregat Gasniczy) machine brought in to help stabilise the
mine had only just begun working the way it should.
"The families have had a kick in the guts all the way
through, from people saying 'we're going to get them out,
we're going to get them out, and we're going to do this and
we're going to do that'," Mr Monk, whose 23-year-old son
Michael was among the dead, told Radio New Zealand.
" Now there's real opportunity to stand up and say 'the GAG
is now working properly and there is a great opportunity'."
Kathy Lintott, who lost her 28-year-old nephew Riki Keane,
said Mr Key had fallen short of his promise to the families
that everything that could be done to recover the bodies