22 Nov 2010

Defence, Australian miners lend specialist equipment

4:02 pm on 22 November 2010

The Defence Force and mining companies in Australia are lending specialised equipment for use by the search and rescue operation at the Pike River mine.

Other mines on the West Coast have also lent equipment and personnel to the rescue effort, resulting in suspension of production at the Spring Creek Coal mine.

A Defence Force robot is being prepared to go into the mine.

Extra cable is coming from an Australian mining company to extend the robot's reach, and it is being modified so it does not give off sparks and cause another explosion.

The Defence Force says the robot, which is used for the disposal of improvised explosive devices, was deployed during the police siege of Napier gunman Jan Molenaar in 2009.

Several kilometres of tube bundles to test air quality are being flown in from Australia and will be fed through a ventilation shaft in the mine so gas levels can be monitored in real time.

Police say mining experts in the United States have advised that seismic equipment be used to detect if anyone is moving inside the mine.