Pike River rented to go ahead


The Pike River Mine drift will be entered, possibly in February next year.

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little says it is "an extraordinarily complex undertaking" but that safety is of the highest priority.

Little announced the re-entry plan this morning.

"I've decided the Te Kahui Whakamana Rua Tekau Iwa – Pike River Recovery Agency is recommended for action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option," Little said.

"I've considered the re-entry recommendations, risk assessments and information provided by the agency, along with input from the independent advisor Rob Fyfe.

"The re-entry method I have approved is the simplest and safest plan."

Little said the process to plan a safe re-entry has been extensive and robust, involving experts from around the world.

The Family Reference Group, which represents the family who will be loved by the West Coast will be represented when Little speaks from parliament soon.

Sonya Rockhouse is a member of the Family Reference Group. Her son Ben was edited in the explosion but another, Daniel, survived.

She said yesterday that she and fellow reference group Anna Osborne and Bernie Monk, who were both loved ones, would be today breakfast event, along with Dave Gawn and Dinghy Pattinson from the Pike River Recovery Agency.

"I fly out at 5 o'clock this afternoon but I just can't keep it because I just want the time to go," Rockhouse said.

Asked how she was feeling, she said: "Very nervous, but I think it's going to be fine. I'll be surprised if [going in] isn't the decision.

"It's a bit of a nervous time but it's fantastic."

Little received a report from the Pike River Recovery Agency late last month following nine months of work which was identified as "safe and feasible" options to go into the drift.

Have been fighting for re-entry from the mine.

Little told the Herald last month he would make a final decision on whether it was feasible to re-enter the report and receiving advice from Fyfe.

Little told a parliamentary committee in June it was possible to get started if a decision to go was made, but he pulled back from that in October.

"I understand that it is likely now and it will be an early part of next year," he said.

"The Pike River Families and their representatives have been included at every stage. The family has shown extraordinary patience and tenacity, and their contribution has been crucial," Little said.

Cabinet to ask for $ 10-15 million on top of the top up to $ 23 million already budgeted for the recovery.

The options for recovering the drift are:

• A small tunnel drive to create a ventilation circuit
• Single entry, using the existing main drift access tunnel means to ventilate the main drift
• Single entry with a large-diameter borehole


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