10 Mar 2011

Pike River receivers putting mine up for sale

8:31 am on 10 March 2011

The receivers of the Pike River coal company intend to start trying to sell the mine next week, now that they have control of the site.

The mine, where explosions killed 29 men in November, has been transferred from the police to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

One of the receivers, John Fisk, says that means they can officially call for offers and he hopes to make an announcement about the process quite soon.

More than 10 companies, including some large international coal firms, have expressed interest in taking over the mine.

Mr Fisk says the receivers are still trying to stabilise the mine, which has been impossible to enter since 19 November, and have set aside $5 million for the purpose.

A spokesperson for the families of those who died, Bernie Monk, says they want assurances the men's remains will be recovered even if the mine is sold. But the receivers, he says, are making no promises.

The police say they still intend to attempt a recovery if re-entry becomes possible.