Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn says drilling expected to start at the Pike River mine on Sunday is a step in the right direction, but the recovery pace is too slow.
The mine's statutory manager, Steve Ellis, says a drill which arrived on Thursday was to be used on Sunday to help put a seal deep in the main tunnel.
Mr Ellis says once the hole is drilled, the expanding chemical Rocsil will be pumped in, at a point 2300 metres into the tunnel.
Once the seal is in place, the tunnel can be reventilated between the seals and the tunnel reclaimed.
Mr Kokshoorn says he's pleased to have reached this point but he thinks a year is too long for the families of the 29 men killed in the mine to have had to wait.
He says he now wants the receivers to get serious about the body recovery.