Pike River miner questioned at commission
Updated at 5:02 pm on 23 November 2011
A miner who says he quit the Pike River coal mine because of safety concerns has been questioned at the Royal Commission about what warnings he gave.
The commission has been hearing from Masaoki Nishioka who left the mine a month before the first explosion.
It is now a year since explosions tore through the West Coast mine, killing 29 men working inside.
Mr Nishioka told the commission on Wednesday he had repeatedly raised concerns about general safety at the mine to his supervisors and to the senior management.
He said on his final day he warned several of his friends on site that he feared the mine would explode and asked them to be very careful.
He said on that day he also warned the direct managers of the underground mining operation of this concerns.
Mr Nishioka said he didn't directly tell the mine's senior managers about his fears of an explosion, but assumed they would understand the danger due to their long experience in mining.
Mr Nishioka was helping set up the mine's hydro mining operation.
Mr Nishioka says that none of the mine's systems were designed properly, the equipment was almost all inappropriate and the ventilation systems were faulty.
He said the mining conditions were also more gassy than he had expected and it was really risky underground.
Mr Nishioka said he was prepared to go underground while construction was going on but not when coal extraction started, as it increases gas levels.
He said he had promised to work for three months and although he had an open ended agreement to work, once the agreed term was completed he wanted to leave.
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