Pike River mine re-entry begins

Solid Energy says removal of material from the top of the Pike River coalmine could take place tomorrow.

Preparatory work to recover the 29 entombed miners entombed begun today.

Solid Energy have said favourable weather could permit lifting of material from the top of the mine's ventilation shaft tomorrow.

The re-entry and recovery plan - which the Government and Solid Energy have pledged $10 million towards - is 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.

Solid Energy spokesman Bryn Somerville said crews "made good progress, and if the weather's okay, we would expect they'd be into it tomorrow."

Equipment and personnel from the New Zealand Defence Force was being used to remove material from around the top of the mine ventilation stuff.

Families of the fallen miners have welcomed the recovery mission.


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