Protesters outside Pike River mine
The Environment Minister has tonight told the families of the Pike River mine victims there are no plans to re-enter the mine.
Nick Smith met with families in Greymouth this evening, where he told them work to permanently seal the mine will continue, with the aim of completing the job by the end of this month.
“I have confirmed to the families that Solid Energy has completed the first phase of work for the permanent seal 30m into the drift,” Mr Smith said in a statement on Wednesday night.
“Solid Energy has a legal obligation to comply with an improvement notice issued by the High Hazards Unit of WorkSafe New Zealand to complete a ‘Type C’ seal by the end of November.”
Mr Smith said he was doubtful of claims by the families that experts have told them it is possible to retrieve the bodies of the 29 men killed in the coal mining accident.
“The mine is full of methane and is likely to have residual heat sources capable of triggering an explosion if there was a source of oxygen. There is the added risk of rock falls,” Mr Smith said.
The six year anniversary of the tragedy is this Saturday.