Pike River re-entry slowed by poor summer

The bad summer slowed the $7 million re-entry at the Pike River mine, with Solid Energy saying it expects to release an updated timetable shortly.

Helicopters have made 1300 trips and the the main ventilation shaft, pictured belching flames after the 2010 disaster, is now plugged.

Three drill holes have been done, two into the main drift and one into pit bottom.

Although they have helped inform workers, cameras lowered down have not found any surprises.

A pump will be installed to take out water, and stop it building up behind the new seal that will go in front of the large rockfall.

The next stages are to plug with foam, pump in nitrogen, re-ventilate the tunnel, then allow Mines Rescue staff to walk up to the seal. Permanent seals will also be installed, Solid Energy spokesman Bryn Somerville said.

The company hopes to update its timetable soon.

However, Mr Somerville reiterated it was important the work was done safely.

Although the summer weather was poor, Westport has just experienced its driest March on record.

- By Laura Mills of the Greymouth Star

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