Pike River donations distribution “complex”: Mayor

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says the distribution of funds to families of the Pike River Coal tragedy is complicated and technical.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says the distribution of funds to families of the Pike River Coal tragedy is complicated and technical.

Discussions are being held  by accountants, lawyers and “men on the ground” to decide how more than $7 million dollars in donations will be divided between the families of the victims.

The explosion that ripped through the underground mine on November 19 trapped 29 men underground. Further explosions ruled out the chance of any survicors.

Kokshoorn said the division of funds will be “quite technical”.

"It’s not just 29 units here, because of circumstances of different families, there’s a lot more than that," he said

"So we’re identifying exactly who they (the beneficiaries) are and then we will distribute into separate trusts all of the funds."

He said the families would be included in discussions regarding the best way to allocate the money.

"The main factor we’ll take into the account is longevity and how long we want this trust to last, and that is all about the children."

Families are still grieving for loved ones entombed in the mine, and struggling to deal with the fact that their bodies may never be recovered.

"While there’s still no good news they have found it very hard."

Kokshoorn said two robots were thought to have gone into the mine on Sunday.

After bad weather over the Christmas and New Year period, the conditions are finally looking better for the recovery teams.

"The weather down here at the moment is real good so with a bit of luck those robots are in there at the moment," he said.

"We may get some sort of sightings as to what and how the bodies actually are."

Expert teams are trying to seal cracks around the ventilation to allow the GAG jet, sent by Queensland Mine Rescue Service (QMRS) following the explosions, to work properly.

Gas levels and temperatures inside the mine continue to fluctuate, making it difficult for teams to know when they will be allowed to enter.

The GAG jet, and the Floxal machine pump water and nitrogen into the mine to extinguish the blaze and make it safe for recovery teams to enter.

They are hoping foam that expands to 35 times its original volume then hardens within five minutes will create an effective seal around the mine’s air vents .

A remembrance service was held for the families of the 29 victims at the site on Christmas Day, and a coronial inquest into the disaster will be heard next month.

 

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