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Pike families one step closer to entering mine

Published: 8:50AM Tuesday February 26, 2013 Source: ONE News

A crucial meeting for Pike River families has seen them take one step closer to gaining entry to the mine that still holds the bodies of 29 men.

A working group, made up of Pike River family representatives, Government representatives and mining experts, met in Christchurch today to discuss strategies to re-enter the Pike River mine.

Families' spokesperson Bernie Monk said re-entering the mine to retrieve the bodies is something that should have been done two years ago, and the families do not want any more delays.

"I learnt a lot from this (the meeting), it's not going to happen as fast as I anticipated but we're going down the right paths," said Monk.

A statement from the working group said the experts advising Solid Energy and the families "have agreed to continue developing and assessing two potential methods of exploring the main entry tunnel, known as the drift, at the Pike River Mine".

The statement goes on to say the group believes that both have the potential to satisfy the criteria that they must be safe and technically feasible.

Gaining access to the tunnel is crucial for the families as it may reveal further clues as to the cause of the explosion. 

Family lawyer Nick Davidson said the families had suffered two years of immense frustrations. 

"We're always disappointed about timing but you can't rush a process on which people's lives turn," said Davidson.

The working group's next task is to choose the best option to re-enter the mine. The plan will then be assessed by the High Hazards unit before it will go to the Government. 

It is believed the Government will fund a safe and technical feasible plan.