4 Jul 2011

Pike mining permit subject to 'credible' recovery plan

6:10 pm on 4 July 2011

The Government says it will make the transfer of the permit for mining at Pike River to a new owner subject to a credible plan to recover the remains of 29 workers.

The men died after a series of explosions which began at the West Coast mine on 19 November last year.

Pike River Coal Ltd was put in receivership in December.

Prime Minister John Key said on Monday the Government expects any buyer to come up with a credible plan to recover the bodies, taking safety factors into account.

Mr Key said he understood that a number of interested buyers have included a recovery plan as part of their bids.

Meanwhile, the receivers of Pike River Coal say they are unable to impose a requirement on potential purchasers to recover the bodies due to safety reasons.

However, they say that they will make it an obligation for the future purchaser to endeavour to do all that they can to recover the victims remains as long as it is safe.

The receivers from PricewaterhouseCoopers say all potential bidders have acknowledged this obligation.

They say an undertaking from potential purchasers to recover the bodies will be an important factor in the receivers' evaluation of bids, but not the only factor.

The receivers say their mine experts do not have all the information at this stage to confirm if any recovery is actually feasible.