A leading mine safety consultant has compared New Zealand’s mine safety to China’s in the wake of the Pike River tragedy.
Wanganui-based mine safety consultant David Feickert said New Zealand’s mines should be much safer than those in China, Wanganui Chronicle reported.
"Sadly, the Pike River tragedy showed us all that our safety legislation and practice was … very weak and must be changed."
His comments come after a Royal Commission into the accident reported the disaster was preventable.
The report comes close to two years after the air in the Pike River underground mine ignited, causing a series of deadly explosions that took the lives of 29 miners.
Feickert has been asked by the families of the 29 dead miners to determine if a recovery operation is probable. Joined by former UK mine inspector Bob Stevenson and British mining engineer David Creedy, the men spent five days earlier this month on plans to recover the miners’ bodies.
Feickert said he hoped the mine's new owner, Solid Energy, and the Government would respond positively to the body-retrieval plan.
"We cannot go into detail at this point, as we have agreed to discuss the plan with the company and its external experts."
A decision regarding mine re-entry is expected in the coming weeks.