The Government has approved conditional funding of a plan to
re-enter the Pike River Mine.Energy and Resources Minister
Simon Bridges said the main tunnel leading up to the rock
fall would be explored.
The decision followed approval in principle of the re-entry
plan risk assessment by the Solid Energy Board.
Mr Bridges said the Government will fund the estimated cost
of the plan, at $7.2 million.
"Our criteria are that any re-entry into the tunnel up to the
rock fall is safe, technically feasible and financially
credible. Safety is paramount, and the High Hazards Unit of
the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has
reviewed the plan and is comfortable with it,'' Mr Bridges
"This is a highly complex and technical operation and it will
be carefully managed in stages, with a risk assessment
undertaken at each stage.
Ensuring the safety of workers is an absolute bottom line for
the Government and Solid Energy.''
Mr Bridges said the scope of the operation did not include
entry into the main mine workings which is blocked by the
"The Government cannot comment or speculate about re-entering
the main mine until the tunnel re-entry has been successfully
achieved,'' Mr Bridges said.
A meeting was held in Greymouth this morning to inform the
families of the 29 men who were killed in the November 2010
Prime Minister John Key yesterday said the families of the
men would be ``relieved'' by the Government's decision.
The plan was approved last week by the board of Solid Energy
and the Government's High Hazards Unit.
Mr Key had pledged $10 million of Government support for a
re-entry plan if it was safe, technically feasible and
The staged re-entry plan was designed to seal off the
ventilation shaft in the mine's main entry tunnel, known as
The mine will be pumped full of nitrogen to force out any
methane gas and allow experts to walk down a 2.3km shaft to a
While most of the bodies were believed to be inside the
mine's main workings, the families think some men may have
been inside the drift when blasts ripped through the mine on
November 19, 2010.