Plan to re-enter Pike River before Solid Energy board

A plan to re-enter the devastated Pike River mine has been completed by its new owners, Solid Energy.

The plan was created by Solid, the families of the victims of Pike River, and the New Zealand government, which has already pledged NZD $10 million to fund the operation, according to 3News.

The coal mine exploded in late 2010, killing 29 men, and to date there have been no attempts to remove the bodies from the collapsed tunnels, despite attempts from the families to initiate a recovery.

The plan is now completed and awaiting final approvals from Solid Energy's five person board.

A committee has been working on this proposal since February.

A spokesperson for the family, Bernie Monk, told 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".

"But going no further, they'll be close to their loved ones, but not close enough," he added, acknowledging that any recovery "would probably be small numbers of men".


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