Pike River recovery operation plans ongoing

  • Gerry Brownlee
Energy and Resources

Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee has today moved to reassure the families of the 29 victims of the Pike River mine that the government continues to explore all options to recover their loved ones.

“A recovery operation depends entirely on the mine being stabilised and made safe enough for people to enter,” Mr Brownlee said.

“Pike River Coal has undertaken, via its receiver Pricewaterhouse Coopers, to submit a proposed recovery plan in the next few days.

“When the GAG machine was brought in Pike River Coal told the government and families the mine would be made inert and stable within hours of being operational.

“Almost 20 days later that has not yet been achieved.

“Independent expert advice will be sought on whether the new Pike River Coal plan is workable. A decision is not expected until the New Year.

“The key issue in deciding whether recovery can take place is the stability and safety of the mine – this is not about money.

“As the Police have said all along, it's essential that the mine is made stable and safe before a recovery team enters.

“Police will remain on-site overseeing the operation for the foreseeable future and they are meeting the costs. The Floxal nitrogen generation unit should begin to work alongside, or replace, the GAG unit in the next few days.

“The Prime Minister gave an undertaking to the families that he would do all he could to get the miners out. The government has been, and is doing, all it can.

“However, difficult as it is for families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, it remains unclear whether people will be able to access the mine.

“We will continue to take the best advice possible on whether a recovery operation is feasible.”