New emergency management systems for underground mines will be activated within an hour of an incident.
The Government has announced the approval of the Underground Mines Emergency Protocol, developed in response to a recommendation by the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine explosion.
Chief Mines Inspector Tony Forster says all mines must be equipped to deal with the first 30 minutes of an emergency on their own but the new protocols will be activated within the hour.
He says a list of nearby emergency management professionals will be created to ensure key expertise is on site as soon as possible.
Under the new protocol a pre-approved incident controller, supported by a team made up of Mines Rescue staff, police and the mine operator will be responsible for coordinating the emergency effort and approving key decisions.
Mr Forster says the proceedure was tested successfully at the Huntly mine about two months ago. The protocol will take effect from December next year.