Pike River operation cost police $11 million

The operation at the Pike River Coal mine has already cost police almost $11 million.

The most expensive component in the operation has been the GAG jet, sent by Queensland Mine Rescue Services (QMRS), which pumps water vapour into the mine to stabilise the gas toxicity levels.

The GAG jet has cost $4.65 million already, $1.22 million in fuel alone.

Other support equipment for the machine totalled $968 000 and paying people to operate the machine was $2.47 million.

The costs of the police operation were broken down in a report released in response to questions about how the money had been spent.

Drilling of boreholes – $429,177
Engineering and equipment purchases and hireage – $895,189
Floxal Nitrogen System: transport – $134,192, hireage – $158,380
GAG Machine: Jet Engine & Support Equipment – $967,964, personnel – $2,468,584, fuel – $1,215,000
Gas monitoring and analysis – $596,606
Gas monitoring equipment hire – $120,126
Professional services and consulting – $297,460
Security – $165,929
Water Corporation Robot – $142,834
Helicopters – $846,623
NZ Mines Rescue Trust – $698,915
Australian Mines Rescue Trust – $321,275
Freight – $197,385
Travel: Flights – $143,672, accommodation – $294,494, rental cars – $89,476
Other costs (such as consumables, catering, printing, stationery and other sundry expenses) – $733,591

The police handed back control of the mine to receivers last month, after recovery efforts were unsuccessful due to dangerous toxicity levels still present inside the mine.

Receivers have announced plans to sell the mine, and say a recovery effort may never be possible.

The most prominent bidders for the mine, Solid Energy said it will make a recovery effort a priority if it is the successful bidder.

Spokesman for the families, Bernie Monk, who lost his son Michael in the tragic explosions in November told Radio New Zealand yesterday the mine is worthless if the bodies are not recovered.

"Yesterday was five months since we’ve lost our guys. They went to work one day and they didn’t come back," Mr Monk told Radio New Zealand.

"What I’m saying to them at the moment, until they go down and get those guys out of the mine, that mine, and I’m telling the world, that it’s worth nothing."

Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers describe the mine as a valuable resource and say there is more than 17.6 million tonnes of sealable coal in the mine and the potential for hard coking coal.

New Zealand Prime Minister Tony Kokshoorn has previously said turning the disastrous underground mine into an open cut one would be “win-win.’


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