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The Pike River coal mine explosion, in which 29 men died, is New Zealand's worst mining disaster for almost a century.

The mine had only opened two years ago and was under pressure to lift production.

What is known about the cause?

And what implications does the accident have for an industry the Government has been championing?

Environment reporter, Ian Telfer investigates.

Schematic showing the Brunner and Paparoa Coal seams at Pike River coal mine

Picture: Pike River mine is unusual in that miners have to travel up to the coal face