Contractors owed money by the Pike River Coal Company have received an initial payment.
One of the mine's shareholders, New Zealand Oil and Gas, agreed with the receivers last month that a maximum of $10.5 million of its share will go towards a voluntary payment to unsecured creditors.
Pike River Contractors and Suppliers Group spokesperson Peter Haddock says its 70 to 80 members are owed about $5 million in total.
He says all unsecured creditors have this week received an initial payment of $10,000 and approximately 20 cents in the dollar for any money owed above that amount.
"With the downturn, a lot of businesses have really been battling and I think it will just keep the wolf from the door," he says.
Mr Haddock says he hopes everyone will be paid the balance they are owed once the sale of the mine is completed.