Pike River contractor in receivership

A contracting company owed $58 000 by Pike River Coal has gone into receivership.

Marlborough contracting company, Morris Contractors completed work for the mine on New Zealand’s west coast prior to the devastating explosions that killed 29 miners on November 19.

Pike River Coal has been in the hands of receivers, PricewaterhouseCoopers, since December.

Receivers have previously said there is little chance unsecured creditors, including contractors will be paid, as the mine currently has very little money and it is decreasing further as it continues to be too dangerous to mine.

The bodies of the 29 men killed in the explosions are still trapped inside the mine and the families of victims want them recovered.

Solid Energy has made its bid for the mine known, and has warned other interested parties the mine will cost more than first thought to become economically viable again.

It says it is the only company with enough west coast mining experience to be able to recover the bodies and make the mine profitable.

A report by the receivers shows $15.4 million is owed to trade creditors and total liabilities are worth $110.4 million.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ John Fisk is currently managing both companies and Morris Contractors director John Morris said he could not comment on the business, but the move into receivership for the company started in 1984 has been a saddening one.

He told The Marlborough Express he has found jobs for more than 25 of his employees.

"I’m proud of a team that I once led, very proud."

Preliminary hearings into for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tragedy were held earlier this month and the New Zealand government has refused a request from Pike River Coal to fund lawyers the company says it cannot afford to pay for.