Pike River Mine News

Solid Energy considering re-entry plan

The entry to the Pike River mine after the explosion.

Solid Energy's board is considering a plan to re-enter the Pike River mine on the West Coast to try and recover the bodies of 29 men who died there in a series of explosions in 2010.

Govt must contribute to Pike compensation - NZ First

New Zealand First says the Government must top up a likely shortfall in compensation for the families of those who died in the Pike River mine disaster.

Little compo for Pike families 'unjust'

There appears to be no chance that any meaningful fine or compensation will be paid over a mine disaster. The revelation came during the sentencing of Pike River Coal Ltd, which failed to ensure the safety of the 29 workers who died in 2010.

Unanimous vote on Pike recommendations

Legislation that would implement the recommendations of a Royal Commission into the Pike River mining disaster has unanimously passed its first reading in Parliament.

Meeting arrangements

The Prime Minister has confirmed to the families of the 29 men who died at Pike River that he will organise a meeting between his advisors and their experts to discuss body recovery. Both parties are now working on dates.

Pike directors callous, says Rockhouse

Comments made by former directors of the Pike River Coal company are callous, says the father of a man who died in the Pike River mine.

Pike families prepared to take Govt to court

A spokesperson for some of the Pike River families says they will take the Government to court if it refuses to help recover the men's remains.

Community in good heart

A community leader in Greymouth says the Royal Commission's report into the Pike River tragedy gives people the chance to move on and work through coal mine closures and other blows.

Lawyer says everyone played role in Pike disaster

A lawyer for the families of Pike River victims says everyone involved in the mine played a role in the disaster and ignoring the methane danger became central to the mine's culture.

Mine report critical of Labour dept - union

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union predicts the Department of Labour will be heavily criticised when the Royal Commission's findings into the Pike River mine disaster are issued on Monday.

Mining experts look at Pike River recovery plan

Families of the Pike River disaster victims are hoping a group of international mine safety experts will be able to give its approval to a plan aimed at re-entering the mine.

Industry believes Pike report won't end underground mining

People on the West Coast and in the mining industry are confident the Royal Commission's report on the Pike River disaster will not bring an end to underground coal mining.

Uproar in court over Pike River company fine

There was uproar in the Greymouth District Court on Friday afternoon when a company contracted to Pike River Coal was fined $46,800 for unsafe work practices at the mine where 29 workers died.

Whittall says he wouldn't have endangered men

Former Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall says he would never take any decisions that would endanger those with whom he worked.

Memorial service to be held for Pike River victim

A public memorial service for one of the 29 men killed in the Pike River mine is to be held in Christchurch.

Judge warns Whittall he must plead on Pike charges

A judge has given a stern warning to the lawyer for former Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall, over his failure to enter a plea over 12 health and safety charges.

No money for unsecured Pike creditors

The receiver for Pike River says there is no chance any money will be paid to any unsecured creditors.

MP denies raising hopes of Pike families

Prime Minister John Key says he never raised the expectations of Pike River families about the possibility of recovering the bodies of the 29 men killed in the mine.

Families hear no guarantee bodies will be recovered

Families of men who died in the Pike River disaster have been told there are no guarantees about the recovery of the bodies of their relatives.

Manufacturer says device not to blame for Pike disaster

Evidence to the Pike River Royal Commission pointing to problems with a key part of the mine's power system as a cause of the fatal explosion has been labelled simplistic and outdated by the manufacturer of the device.

Case for collective responsibility urged

The lawyer for six senior managers at the Pike River mine says instead of blaming those in charge at the time of the disaster, everyone involved in the mine's operations should be found collectively responsible for what happened.

New mine rules would give workers more say in safety

The Labour Department is recommending radical changes to the way underground coal mines are regulated and says the changes will give more power to employees.

Royal Commission to begin final Pike hearings

The Royal Commission on the Pike River mining tragedy will begin its final hearings in Greymouth on Monday.

Layoffs among staff working on recovery of Pike bodies

Families of miners killed in the Pike Rive explosion say they are philosophical about news nine recovery workers are to be made redundant by the mine's receivers.

Third phase of inquiry at an end

The third phase of the Royal Commission into the Pike River disaster ends on Friday.

Final appointment to High Hazards Unit

The final position has been filled in the High Hazards Unit, set up by the Government after the Pike River tragedy.

Pike River manager smelt fumes but returned to emails

A Pike River manager has revealed he smelt fumes in the air on the day the West Coast mine first exploded, shortly before returning to his office and sending emails about a job elsewhere.

Miners never stood a chance - Monk

The spokesperson for the families of the Pike River mine victims is pleased an Australian mine expert has confirmed the families' suspicions that the mine's safety was not up to standard.

Pike River's methane checking faulty

A mining expert has told the Pike River Royal Commission that systems for checking levels of highly flammable methane in the mine were faulty at the time of the disaster.

Miners could have caused explosion - lawyer

Evidence at the Pike River Royal Commission on Wednesday suggested workers could have ignited the methane that caused the explosion at the mine.

Pike River Coal health and safety case adjourned

The Department of Labour says a court hearing about health and safety charges at the Pike River Coal mine has been adjourned for two months.

Prospect of tougher rules may affect Pike River sale

The receiver for the Pike River Coal mine says the possibility of tough rules being introduced into the mining industry is deterring would-be buyers.

PM to apologise to widow

Prime Minister John Key is to apologise to a Pike River widow whose deceased husband was accidentally sent a Christmas card from him. The name was on a database from Local Government NZ.

Pike Trust will be needed - receiver

The Pike River Coal company receiver says anyone buying it will have to set up a trust fund to help recover the remains of the 29 men who died in the mine in November last year.

Weather delays recovery work at Pike River mine

Bad weather is interrupting plans to put a seal deep into the main tunnel to the Pike River coal mine.

Drilling to begin for new Pike River seal

Drilling will commence on Sunday to put a seal deep in the main tunnel of the Pike River Coal mine on the West Coast.

Change to Pike mine conditions sought

Government officials are considering an application from Solid Energy to vary the conditions on its permit to mine at Pike River.

PM doubts mine re-entry possible

The Prime Minister has told the families of the Pike River victims he is prepared to organise a meeting between his experts and theirs on re-entering the West Coast mine, but doesn't see how re-entry could happen.

Pike families remember their dead two years on

Ceremonies marking the second anniversary of the Pike River Coal Mine disaster have ended with songs and the placing of flowers on a special memorial in Blackball, the closest town to the mine.

Experts hand over Pike River recovery plan

International experts have handed the owners of Pike River coal mine a report saying it is possible to recover the remains of the men who died there two years ago.

Pike health and safety staff under scrutiny

Staff at what used to be the Department of Labour will come under further scrutiny over their role in the Pike River mining disaster and may face action by their employer.

Pike directors wanted a safe, world-class mine

Directors of the Pike River Coal Ltd, which is now in receivership, say they set out to create a safe world-class mine and never intended it to be developed or operated unsafely.

Clues to be sought for re-entry plan

Mine safety experts will be studying the Royal Commission report on the Pike River disaster to see if a re-entry plan can be established.

Pike report will reveal truth, says family spokesman

The spokesperson for some of the families of Pike River mine victims says he is confident the Royal Commission's report on the tragedy will reveal the truth.

Govt receives report on Pike mine disaster

The Government has received the report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River mine tragedy.

Pike River contractor fine 'a joke'

The Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union says the fine given to an Australian-based drilling company for safety failures at the Pike River coal mine is "a joke".

Pike River father says PM has written families off

An angry Pike River father says the Prime Minister has written off the families' latest chance to get the bodies of 29 workers out of the West Coast mine.

Pike River inquiry gets extension

The Royal Commission of Inquiry investigating the Pike River mine tragedy has been given an extra two months to finish its report.

Pike River Commission decides not to reconvene

The Pike River Royal Commission has decided not to hold further hearings.

Pike River mine sale goes through

The sale of the Pike River coal mine to Solid Energy has been confirmed.

Pike families abandon hope of recovering bodies

Families of the men who died at the Pike River mine in 2010 have abandoned all hope of recovering the bodies and accept the risk is too high.

Families say no mining until bodies retrieved

Families of the victims of the Pike River mining disaster are threatening to block coal sales from the mine if it is commercially reopened without the dead being brought out first.

Criminal charges wanted by Pike relatives

At least two of the families of those who died in the Pike River mine disaster want to see criminal charges laid now that the Royal Commission hearings are over.

Department's safety standards criticised at inquiry

The miners' union has highlighted shortcomings in changes to safety standards recommended by the Department of Labour.

Company expected to make 'best effort' to recover bodies

The New Zealand Government says Solid Energy is expected to make its best efforts to retrieve the bodies of 29 men who died in the Pike River Coal mine disaster in 2010.

Pike families fear safety unit will be lost in new ministry

A spokesperson for families bereaved in the Pike River mine disaster says he is worried over the effect on the mining sector of a planned merger of four Government agencies.

Solid Energy to buy Pike River mine

The Pike River coal mine will be sold to state-owned Solid Energy.

Manager stands by criticism of Whittall

A former Pike River manager has defended his allegation that something was untoward about the ousting of the company's first chief executive.

Ingrained culture of blame at mine

The Royal Commission investigating the Pike River disaster has been told the coal mine had an ingrained blame culture.

Pike River mine explosion theory challenged

The Pike River Royal Commission's theory about the cause of the disaster at the West Coast coal mine is being challenged by an electrical company.

Manager mired in design 'on the run'

A former manager at the Pike River Mine felt too much of his time was being taken up with crisis management in the months leading up to the disaster which claimed 29 lives.

Escape abilities hindered by ventilation system

The Royal Commission investigating the Pike River Mine disaster has heard the ventilation system at the mine limited the ability of men to escape following an explosion.

Royal Commission resumes

The Pike River Royal Commission is nearing the end of its third phase which is looking into the events leading up to the explosion which killed 29 men. It is to look at the immediate cause of the first blast on 19 November, 2010.

Pike River body recovery plan 'too lengthy' says mayor

The Grey District Mayor says a possible 3½ years is too long to wait for the recovery of the bodies in the Pike River coal mine.

Police close to decision on Pike criminal charges

Police say they will finalise recommendations on whether criminal charges will be laid over the Pike River Coal mine disaster by the end of January.

Pike River body retrieval to begin in March

The receivers for the Pike River mine have told the families of the 29 men killed there they hope to start discussions in March about bringing them out.

Pike River Coal won't be sold before Christmas

Pike River Coal says the mine won't be sold before Christmas. Receiver John Fisk says the sale process is taking longer than initially hoped.

Pike safety manager refuses to lay blame for disaster

Pike River Coal's safety manager has defended his work record and refused to blame anyone for the disaster which killed 29 workers at the West Coast mine.

Experts discuss recovery plan at Pike mine

The spokesperson for some of the families of the men who died in the Pike River mine disaster has accepted that developing a recovery plan will be more difficult and take longer than he thought.

Govt releases plan to implement Pike River report

The Government has released a plan for implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Pike River Coal Mine disaster.

Employment investigation underway over Pike disaster

An investigation has begun into whether Labour Department staff did everything they should have when the department issued Pike River Coal with a mining permit, and whether the department monitored the mine properly.

Still too early to enter mine

International mining experts looking into the feasibility of re-opening the Pike River mine say it's still too early to say if it can be entered safely.

Parties meet to discuss plan to re-open mine

The first steps towards a plan to re-open the Pike River mine have been taken in Greymouth.

Pike Royal Commission recommendations

The Royal Commission has made 16 recommendations in its report on the Pike River Coal mine tragedy in November 2010 in which 29 men died and two survived.

Pike workers exposed to 'unacceptable risk'

A Royal Commission's damning report on the Pike River mine tragedy says the company paid insufficient attention to health and safety matters and exposed workers to unacceptable risks in its drive to produce coal.

Pike report to be presented to families on Monday

The report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River mine disaster and the Government's response will be presented to the families of the victims in Greymouth on Monday.

Royal Commission report into mine tragedy due next week

Prime Minister John Key says the Royal Commission's report into the Pike River mine tragedy will be released next week.

Pike managers lose bid over inquiry

Lawyers representing six former directors and managers at the Pike River mine say they are still considering the failure of their application to have the Royal Commission into the disaster reconvened.

Court considers reconvening Pike River inquiry

A request to cross-examine witnesses who made statements to the Pike River Royal Commission after its hearings ended met the criteria for doing so, a court has been told.

Bill for Pike families' lawyers passes $1.5 million

The bill for lawyers representing the Pike River families has passed $1.5 million.

Push to reopen Pike River hearings

The lawyer for the miners' union says a push to reconvene the Pike River Royal Commission is designed to put pressure on the commissioners.

Call for Pike River commission to reconvene

The lawyer for former Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall wants the Royal Commission into the mine disaster reconvened to hear three previously unheard witnesses.

PM happy to meet again with Pike River families

Prime Minister John Key says he would be happy to meet again with the families of the men who died at Pike River.

Spotlight back on ventilation fan

An expert in mine safety says the spotlight has been thrown back on the ventilation fan as one of the most likely sources of the sparks that caused the initial explosion at the Pike River mine.

Pike Royal Commission hearings completed

The Pike River Royal Commission has completed its hearings into the disaster which claimed the lives of 29 men in November 2010.

Police chain of command questioned at Pike hearing

Rescue service 'hampered by bureaucracy'

Pike River families protest delay recovering bodies

A group of Pike River family members has hung two banners in Greymouth to protest against the delays in recovering the bodies of the men killed in the mine.

Creditor cautiously welcomes Pike River sale

A major creditor of the Pike River Coal mine is remaining cautious about how much money it could get back if the sale is finalised.

Explosion not feared by ex Pike manager

A former manager at the Pike River coal mine says he never feared there would be an explosion at the mine.

Delay seen as safety issue

The Pike River Royal Commission has heard a delay in installing a gas monitoring system underground was a health and safety issue.

Whittall was dodgy git and liar, inquiry told

The Pike River Royal Commission has heard the company's chief executive Peter Whittall was described by a mine manager as dodgy and a liar.

Many opportunities for sparking at mine, inquiry told

An Australian mining consultant has told an inquiry into the Pike River Coal mine disaster the potential for sparking in the mine was great.

Bore hole questions at inquiry

The Pike River Royal Commission heard on Friday of the value of a bore hole being dug to the area where many of the dead men are thought to have been working at the time of the explosions in November 2010.

Departmental finding challenged

A finding from a Department of Labour investigation into the Pike River mine disaster that an electrical fault caused the explosion has been challenged at the Royal Commission examining the disaster.

Reporting dates for Royal Commissions extended

The reporting dates for the Pike River and Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commissions have been extended.

NZ Oil and Gas writes off Pike River investment

Shares in New Zealand Oil& Gas fell 2.5% on Thursday after the company said it was writing off the rest of its investment in Pike River Coal.

Preparations to seal shaft at Pike

Preparations are being made to seal part of the Pike River coal mine in a first step toward retrieving the remains of 29 men who died in explosions there in November 2010.

Inspector appointments 'reassure miners'

The Pike River Families Committee says the appointment of mine inspector roles will give the kind of safety reassurance needed for miners still working underground.

3D mine rescue simulator promised

A 3D mine rescue training simulator is to be built near Greymouth to help train volunteers. it will be funded by Development West Coast.

Too long to start drilling, says Grey District mayor

Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn says drilling expected to start at the Pike River mine on Sunday is a step in the right direction, but the recovery pace is too slow.