Pike River buyer to be decided by August

The successful bidders for the Pike River Coal mine should be known by the beginning of August.

Receivers of the mine, PricewaterhouseCoopers told New Zealand media it hopes to have the sale of the mine mostly resolved, but does not expect to have government and regulatory approvals by that time.

The deadline for expressions of interest in purchasing the embattled mine where 29 men were killed in November is this Thursday.

Receiver John Fisk said more than 30 interested parties have contacted him since the mine was announced for sale a month ago.

It is still unknown how many of these expressions of interest will become formal offers.

Fisk said parties who have expressed definite interest in purchasing the mine were required to sign confidentiality agreements in order to move to the next stage of carrying out “due diligence” on the company where they would be given access to a “data room” of information about the company.

Solid Energy has previously discussed its interest in the mine, and says it is the only mining company with enough experience on the west coast to make the mine financially viable again.

Bathurst Resources yesterday denied it would be bidding for Pike River.

Fisk expects the first due diligence process to take about four weeks and from that the interested parties would prepare indicative bids which are not binding.

Only a select few will be asked to go through to a final bidding stage.

"The end game is we would like to have contracts agreed (even) if they are subject to final consent from government authorities by the beginning of August."

Yesterday the former safety and training manager at Pike River said money issues were preventing receivers from entering the mine to recover the bodies of victims.

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