Pike River families to learn of re-entry decision

The families of the men killed in explosions at Pike River will be briefed this morning on the Government decision on whether to re-enter the mine.

Energy and Resource Minister Simon Bridges will make an announcement on the decision.

Spokesman for some of the families Bernie Monk said the meeting would take place in Greymouth with two members of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's High Hazard Unit at 11am.

Prime Minister John Key yesterday said the families of the 29 men would be "relieved" by the Government's decision.

Cabinet yesterday made its decision on whether to fund a plan for a staged re-entry of the coalmine, where the men's bodies have been entombed since the fatal blasts in November 2010.

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 financially credible.

The staged re-entry plan was designed to seal off the ventilation shaft in the mine's main entry tunnel, known as the drift.

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 rockfall.

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.


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