A third explosion - at 3.39pm - has occurred at the Pike
River Coal mine on the West Coast where 29 miners have died.
Pike River chairman John Dow has made an annnouncement about the blast to media outside the Grey District council offices and said the third blast was smaller than the first two blasts.
Staff and emergency service workers were about to attend a minute's silence for the 29 killed, at 3.44pm , a week on from the first blast.
Dow said no one was at the portal at the time of the blast and
it is his "understanding that there we no injuries or anything like
He said this explosion won't stop the planned recovery of the bodies.
"It won't mean a set-back at all, we've consistently said that this has been a potentially explosive environment right from the beginning. The fact that we've had two more explosions since the first one confirms that the environment continues to remain unstable. But we've known that all along, so it won't make any difference."
He said the people attending the minute's silence wouldn't have heard the blast.
"They were far enough away. The only reason we know that it happened was because we've seen it on the CCTV. There's no audio up there, and you can't hear it, it's underground. The only way when we know it happens is when smoke comes out of the portal," he said.
The men were trapped inside the mine after it exploded last Friday afternoon and a second explosion on Wednesday ended any hope of their survival.
Earlier today Pike had said a third robot was 1575m into the mine tunnel and had detected debris and destruction in the main shaft. Dow did not say whether this robot has been damaged.
This indicates Wednesday's explosion was much more violent than the first one, Pike River Coal CEO Peter Whittall said.
Two other robots sent into the mine earlier were damaged by the explosion.