22 Jun 2011

Carbon monoxide levels fall at Pike River mine

3:22 pm on 22 June 2011

The receiver for Pike River Coal says falling gas levels mean work to re-enter the mine could begin as early as late June if authorities give approval.

The remains of 29 men killed in an explosion on 19 November last year have yet to be recovered.

Representatives of the mining company, receivers and rescue teams met on Tuesday to finalise stabilisation work.

Receiver John Fisk says carbon monoxide levels inside the mine have fallen from a high of 6000 parts per million two weeks ago to about 1350 parts per million on Tuesday. Oxygen levels are also rising.

Mr Fisk says gas levels need to fall to about 1200 parts per million, but if the necessary approvals come through, the re-entry process could begin on 27 June.

Any decision to re-enter must be approved by the Department of Labour, Mines Rescue and an expert panel.

If approved, Mr Fisk says the stabilisation process, ahead of any re-entry, is expected to take several months.