15 Mar 2011

Solid Energy wants to buy Pike River mine

8:22 am on 15 March 2011

State-owned coal mining company Solid Energy says it is the only company in the world capable of successfully running the Pike River Coal mine.

Pike River Coal went into receivership in December, after 29 workers were killed in explosions at the mine on 19 November.

Police handed control of the West Coast mine to receiver PricewaterhouseCoopers which is now looking for buyers.

Solid Energy says a combination of open cast and underground mining could be used to re-open the mine.

Chief executive Don Elder says Solid Energy wants to buy the Pike River operation and believes it has the local knowledge and expertise to successfully mine there.

He says Pike River Mine should not be sold to an overseas company which may not have the knowledge, understanding and experience to deliver.

Mr Elder says there are still the families of the 29 men to be considered in the future of the mine and he doesn't believe an overseas company would take them into account.

Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union assistant national secretary Ged O'Connell says the state-owned coal mining company should be the front runner in the bidding process.

Mr O'Connell says Solid Energy is the logical buyer as it has the knowledge and expertise to mine in New Zealand.

But Mr O'Connell says there could be interest from other sectors, including from non-mining companies wanting to sell the mine for a profit.