22 Dec 2010

Date set for Pike River inquest

3:45 pm on 22 December 2010

An inquest into the deaths of 29 men at the Pike River coalmine will begin on 27 January at Greymouth District Court.

A series of explosions occurred at the mine from 19 November on.

Chief Coroner Neil MacLean says the inquest will likely be limited to confirming the identities of the men and attempting to establish the timeframe and cause of their deaths.

Judge MacLean says wider issues concerning the cause and possible prevention of the tragedy will be covered by the royal commission of inquiry announced by the Government.

He says that means the inquest will probably be put on hold indefinitely after January to avoid any prejudice and allow all the other investigations to be completed.

Judge MacLean says next month's hearing should allow him to register the deaths and obtain death certificates for the men.