The Department of Labour says a search for a permanent head for a unit that monitors mine safety is proving difficult.
The high hazards unit was set up following the Pike River disaster.
The department says it is a tough job finding the right person as the new chief inspector of mines, and it has employed the help of an Australian mining recruitment agency.
It says no-one in this country is qualified for such a senior role, and it is difficult to match the bonuses that private industry can offer.
Gavin Taylor, who is leading the unit in the meantime, is on loan from his role as chief inspector of coal mines in Queensland until April.