A school of mining is set to open on the West Coast next year in response to an acute shortage of trained professionals in the minerals industry.
The school, which will be established at Tai Poutini Polytechnic in Greymouth, plans to offer pre-entry drilling, mining and blasting courses.
Minerals West Coast manager Peter O'Sullivan says one of the major issues holding back the minerals industry is the reliance on experienced professionals from overseas.
He says gaining formal qualifications at the school will give the industry much more credibility.
However, a spokesperson for some families of men killed in the Pike River mine, Bernie Monk, says he is concerned students could be rushed through qualifications and sent to mines with only classroom experience.