17 Dec 2010

Nitrogen machine on way to Pike River mine

10:55 am on 17 December 2010

The mammoth task is underway of moving an Australian nitrogen machine to the Pike River Coal mine site where it will be used to help stabilize the mine's atmosphere.

Twenty-nine men died in a series of explosions at the West Coast mine last month, and work continues to make the mine safe for the recovery of their bodies.

Superintendent Gary Knowles, told Morning Report the nitrogen machine is being taken by road from Auckland to the West Coast, and will hopefully arrive on Saturday.

The floxal nitrogen-generation unit will pump pure nitrogen into the mine, to reduce the heat and ensure the atmosphere is inert.

Mr Knowles says it will be used along with the GAG machine and the a task is likely to take many weeks.

He says they are still looking at whether it will be possible to recover the miners remains at all, though they are doing everything they can.

Staff working will be working through the Christmas holiday, and plan to be there until at least the end of January, he says.

They will be taking families up to the site on Christmas Day, to spend some time near the mine and reconnect with their men.