21 Mar 2011

Mine disaster hearings to be held in Greymouth

5:31 pm on 21 March 2011

The Royal Commission into the Pike River mine disaster has announced it will hold all its hearings in Greymouth.

The commission on Monday issued the first details of the planned hearings, including the parties to be heard and the matters to be investigated.

Twenty-nine workers died at the Pike River Coal mine on the West Coast following explosions which began on 19 November last year.

The families of the men killed have been pushing for all the hearings to be held in Greymouth and they have got their wish.

The Christchurch earthquake on 22 February has made it impossible for the commission to operate from the devastated city and on Monday confirmed that all hearings will now be held in Greymouth.

It has allocated 15 weeks for the hearings in four blocks between May and November.

The commission has also revealed the 63 parties and witnesses it expects to call on.

They include Pike River Coal Ltd, the workers' families, various government departments, private sector union the EPMU, other mining companies and a range of safety experts.