Mine Stabilisation Plan at Pike River

Pike River Coal receivers have announced they have resumed control of the mine stabilisation at the underground mine where 29 men were killed in November.

Receiver John Fisk, from PricewaterhouseCoopers, said it intends to implement the Mine Stabalisation Plan prepared by the company management and expert mining advisors.

A separate fund has been set aside for this purpose and when the plan is implemented, the receivers will continue to work closely with a panel of experts, including experts previously advising police.

Consulting with these experts will ensure a level of continuity in the risk assessment advice from when police had control of the recovery effort, before handing it back to the receivers in January.

Police concluded at that time that they may not continue the recovery efforts because it was too dangerous inside the mine,and only this week it was announced the mine may be sealed permanently without a recovery.

The Mine Stabilisation Plan will hopefully lead to suitable inert atmosphere inside the mine free from any underground heat source.

"Stabilisation is a necessary first step to allow the investigation of options for the Mine. However, there can be no assurance that the Stabilisation Plan will be successful or, even if it is, whether other options such as an eventual re-entry to all or part of the Mine will be feasible" Fisk said.

"Should re-entry be feasible, the Company will make sure the families are informed and will call in Police so that all necessary safeguards relating to any recovery efforts and preservation of evidence are put in place."

“The Mine is the principal asset of the company, and the prospects for the company are inextricably linked to the prospects for the Mine. If the Mine Stabilisation Plan is successful we will look at the best options to maximise value. However, at the present time, no timetable can be set for the next steps.”

The receivers say they will continue to work closely with police to stabilise the mine and Commissioner of Police, Howard Broad has promised to keep the families of victims up to date on the developments.

"We will continue to support the families and to keep them informed of Police developments" Broad said.

Most recently, the mine recovery was delayed due to the Christchurch earthquake.

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