15 Dec 2010

Job options explored for mine workers

10:00 pm on 15 December 2010

The Government and West Coast leaders are to explore options for jobs in the region in the wake of the Pike River Coal mine disaster.

Pike River Coal Ltd went into receivership on Monday following an explosion at the West Coast mine on 19 November which killed 29 workers and curtailed all production.

On Tuesday, it was announced that 114 workers would be made redundant. It is estimated this will have a $13 million-a-year impact on the Grey District economy.

Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn and West Coast Development Trust chair John Sturgeon met with Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee in Wellington on Wednesday.

Mr Brownlee says while there will be work opportunities in the future with other mine expansions and a hydro project on the Arnold River, short-term options are needed.

No details have been given on specific projects or their cost but Mr Brownlee expects to have proposals by early February.

Radio New Zealand's political staff say among the options for the Government are fast-tracking resource consent applications for some of the mining projects or encouraging Solid Energy to ramp up its mining operations on the West Coast.

Labour Party leader Phil Goff says the Government needs to act faster to help create jobs on the West Coast. He says the region needs support quickly, and before February.