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Labour says approval pending for Pike re-entry

Published: 10:24AM Thursday August 08, 2013 Source: ONE News

Labour says that a re-entry plan for the Pike River mine should be approved by Solid Energy this month.

Entry to the mine, where 29 men died in November 2010, has been restricted since the incident despite pleas from the families of the dead.

But it appears they may finally get their wish, with MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O'Connor saying that the plan should get approval from Solid Energy, who own the mine, this month.

"The National Government should then proceed quickly," Mr O'Connor said.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges acknowledged that the plan was being worked on but gave no timelime for the approval process.

Mr O'Connor said a huge amount of work had gone into the plan and the news that things were moving has been welcomed by the families.

"This is a long awaited decision for the families and it will hopefully offer some emotional compensation for the huge loss they suffered."

The remains of the men who died in the November 2010 explosion are thought to be on the other side of a large rockfall about two kilometres into the mine tunnel.

If the plan is accepted by the Solid Energy board and deemed safe by the Government's High Hazards Unit, it will be taken to Cabinet for final approval.