Pike River: Mine to be purged of explosive gas

Another important step to re-entering the Pike River Mine has been achieved, with the arrival of equipment that is needed to purge the mine of explosive methane.

The nitrogen gas plant needed to purge the mine has arrived at the site on the West Coast.

Once the methane has been removed, the nitrogen will be pumped out, allowing a recovery team to enter the main entry tunnel in fresh air without the need for breathing equipment.

The plant - which was used in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 mine explosion in which 29 men died - arrived in several containers from Australia.

It will be on the site for one year.

A final decision on whether to enter the mine will be made by the Pike River Recovery Minister Andrew Little in early November.

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