30 Oct 2017

Pike River manned re-entry possible early next year - Little

1:10 pm on 30 October 2017

The minister responsible for re-entry into Pike River, Andrew Little, hopes to get people in to the mine by April next year.

Andrew Little at Waitangi

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Mr Little told Newshub's The AM Show it was a top priority and that just a day after being sworn in he started arrangements to meet the families and gather all the relevant reports.

The previous government had maintained getting people into the mine was too dangerous.

Mr Little told Newhub's The AM Show today that he had two comprehensive reports and he believes manned entry is entirely achievable.

"There are risks - but there's risks [in] doing anything.

"So lets clear all that stuff out of the way, lets look at what we know is there, what we know that the technology and the science tells us is possible, and work up that plan."

Mr Little said he was still to meet with the different technical experts to fully understand the situation, but hoped to get people into the mine by March or April next year.

Earlier this month mine owner Solid Energy said it was on track to begin underground exploration using a remote controlled vehicle by Christmas.

The company will continue to work on its current plan to enter the mine until directed otherwise by the Labour-led Government.

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