Pike River coal mine re-entry plan on the agenda

A plan is currently being formatted to re-enter the collapsed Pike River mine.

The decision to re-enter the mine was first put forward in February this year, when a group of 18 people, including those including representatives from the Government’s High Hazards Unit, Pike families, Solid Energy and Mines Rescue Trust came together.

The current plan for re-entry came before Solid Energy earlier this month, with a spokesperson for the family, Bernie Monk, telling the NZ Herald that while there is uncertainty over what recovery teams will find the families are confident that the plan will go ahead.

"The Government have come on board, they've been with us the whole way. This is the reason why it'll be pumped through pretty quick," Monk told Radio New Zealand.

This new plan will see recovery teams go as far as the rockfall, however it is unknown whether the miners' bodies are actually further down the tunnels.

"We don't know this and it's all high speculation. Everyone says we may get close for the families, and I've seen [prime minister John Key] saying that it might be heartbreaking if we get down to the rockfall and can't get any further. No one is positive of what is going to happen when we get down there, but we have to try,'' Monk said.

NZ prime minister John Key added that "I worry about how far we'll be able to get up the drift".

The latest plan outline states that is it not focused on recovering the bodies, only re-entering the mine, according to Stuff.co.nz

The first stage will see recovery teams get past the collapse point in the mine, however from that point on ingress is still being planned.

However Monk is still hopeful that if teams can get past the drift, the mine could be made safe to recover the bodies.

Greymouth district mayor Tony Kokshoorn explained that the plan will seal the ventilation shaft first.

"There's also another porthole there which they used to take methane samples – they are going to put grout down through that, into the drift which would expand when setting and seal the entire mine, and allow them to force nitrogen or oxygen down it."

The push to re-enter continues.

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