3 Oct 2014

Pike delay sought until documents read

7:04 pm on 3 October 2014

A spokesperson for some Pike River families will ask Solid Energy to delay an official announcement over if it is possible to re-enter the mine while their experts study the documents the decision will be based on.

Bernie Monk.

Bernie Monk. Photo: RNZ

The state-owned coal miner plans to decide by the end of this month but has already said re-entry to search for the 29 men who died in explosions in November 2010 at the West Coast mine is unlikely because there is not a second exit.

The company is in the process of handing over the documents to the families.

A spokesperson for some families, Bernie Monk, said they would be analysed by a group of experts the families have hired.

"We wanna know why they're stopping the re-entry into the mine. Look, I'll never be happy till our experts look me in the face and say to me, 'This job can't be done'".

Mr Monk said this may take longer than the end of the month and he would talk to Solid Energy about delaying the release of its decision.

A statement released this afternoon said the families could only deal with Solid Energy's position by having their own technical advisers review all the material.

The statement said the families could only trust that as Solid Energy received more conclusive advice, it would be shared with the families' technical advisers.

The Pike River coal mine in November 2010.

The Pike River coal mine in November 2010. Photo: REUTERS

Father's bid turned down

Solid Energy has told a father who wants to re-enter the Pike River mine himself to recover the remains of those who died that it cannot be allowed under safety legislation.

The mine's former deputy manager, Marty Palmer, wants the company to waive its corporate liability and allow him and a group of others to carry out the mission.

Mr Palmer's son Brendan was among 29 men who died in the explosions.

Solid Energy said today that safety legislation made it responsible for anyone entering the mine and this was not something it was able to sign away.

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