Looks like Pike River mine will be entered

September 3rd, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Families of the 29 men killed in the blasts will be “relieved” by the Government’s decision on whether to support a plan to re-enter the mine, Prime Minister John Key says.

Cabinet today made its decision on whether to fund a plan for a staged re-entry of the coalmine, where the men’s bodies have been entombed since the fatal blasts in November 2010.

The plan was approved last week by the board of Solid Energy and the Government’s High Hazards Unit.

Mr Key said families would be briefed on the Cabinet decision before Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges made an announcement tomorrow.

“Whatever the outcome of that decision, yes, I think that they will be relieved that things are another step further along.

Sounds like it is a go.

The staged re-entry plan is designed to seal off the ventilation shaft in the mine’s main entry tunnel, known as the drift.

The mine will be pumped full of nitrogen to force out any methane gas and allow experts to walk down a 2.3km shaft to a rockfall.

Whether they can ever get past the rockfall is another issue!

UPDATE: It is a go.

The Government will fund a plan to re-enter and explore the main tunnel leading up to the rock fall in the Pike River Coal Mine.

Families of the 29 men killed in the mine nearly three years ago were briefed this morning.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges made the announcement this afternoon, putting the estimated cost of the plan at $7.2 million and said the chance of finding bodily remains in the tunnel was “slim”.

The plan announced today does not cover entry into the main mine workings which is blocked by the rock fall.

“The Government cannot comment or speculate about re-entering the main mine until the tunnel re-entry has been successfully achieved,” Bridges said.

On entering the mine proper, Bridges said he was personally sceptical.

There had been fires, explosions and floods, so it was likely the environment would probably be highly unstable.

I for one do not begrudge the cost.

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24 Responses to “Looks like Pike River mine will be entered”

  1. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    So, if I understand this correctly, the government finds funding mine safety inspectors to keep miners alive too expensive, but doesn’t mind forking out millions on pointless PR exercises after miners are dead. Roger that.

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  2. UrbanNeocolonialist (310 comments) says:

    This decision will kill 3-4 people.

    That is how many lives $7 million can save if applied to transport safety or health.

    Fucking idiotic waste of money. Spending money to recover bodies should always be last on the list of spending priorities as it delivers nothing of value apart from a brief emotional shot in teh arm to the bereaved. Would the bereaved chose to spend $250k of their own money for a body? Would they chose to spend even $5k?

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  3. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Great…more of Bernie Monks head on TV …”noooooooo”…

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  4. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    So, if I understand this correctly, the Labour government finds funding mine safety inspectors to keep miners alive too expensive, but the National government doesn’t mind forking out millions on pointless PR exercises after miners are dead. Roger that.

    I think that’s what you meant to say isn’t it Milt?

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  5. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    Milt’s point does highlight a process issue when government’s change. Because quite rightly, the current government is open to the accusation that labour’s gutting of the inspection function should have been remedied. So what processes exist to ensure that incoming governments are aware of critical issues such as this or does it reduce incoming ministers to the position of having to conduct full due diligence on their departments?

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  6. Warren Murray (314 comments) says:

    I sympathise with the families loss, but i dont agree with DF’s sentiments about funding this. If chances of finding remains is slim, it is an appalling waste, not unlike the CIR in terms of scale.

    If the funding ( or some of it) was offered to the families, it would do more good.

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  7. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    I for one do not begrudge the cost.

    I have a problem with the government spending money on something that probably won’t get a result.

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  8. Psycho Milt (2,419 comments) says:

    So, if I understand this correctly, the Labour government finds funding mine safety inspectors to keep miners alive too expensive, but the National government doesn’t mind forking out millions on pointless PR exercises after miners are dead.

    You write that like it makes a difference, DVM. Labour is equally as capable as National of wasting millions on a PR exercise, and National is equally as capable as Labour of gutting essential regulatory regimes. “The government” suffices.

    Because quite rightly, the current government is open to the accusation that labour’s gutting of the inspection function should have been remedied.

    More to the point, it’s rightly open to the accusation that the Pike River disaster was a pretty strong tip-off that Labour’s gutting of the inspection function was in need of remedy, but instead of remedying it the incumbents are funding a pointless corpse hunt.

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  9. RightNow (6,995 comments) says:

    Cheaper than a CIR though.

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  10. thedavincimode (6,877 comments) says:

    Milt

    I’ve “moved on” but I understood that there was a comprehensive remedy on the way, if in fact it hasn’t already occurred. If nothing at all has already actually happened then I agree with the thrust of your comment to the effect that it is inexcusable.

    The corpse recovery exercise is at least morally justified on the basis that it was a combination of government action and inaction that lead to this outcome. Otherwise, it is hardly a central government function; although paying out on uninsured Christchurch properties is hardly a central government function either. In each case it falls into the political feel good (votes) category of decision-making.

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  11. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    I have a huge amount of sympathy for the families but I agree with the above posters, this is a massive amount of money to spend. I can’t really understand what it is like to be in their situation but if it were me, I would rather the money went to charity or helping sick people who are are dying (simplistic view I know).

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  12. Odakyu-sen (751 comments) says:

    $7.2 million divided among the 29 deceased equates to just over $248k per dead miner. Perhaps the money would be better spent to create a fund to help assist the bereaved families.

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  13. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Haven’t they been paid out some money already? Frankly I’m sick to death of hearing about bloody Pike River especially when I hear of things like disarmed gas detectors in the mine , smoking in the shaft etc. No more dosh. Seal the mine and move on.
    Bernie , get out in ya garden.

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  14. Tinshed (170 comments) says:

    I understand the cost argument but I would ask, “What if one of those bodies in the mine was your son/brother/father/husband/uncle”? Who we hold the same view? While we might like to think we would still think the whole exercise a waste of money, I am not so sure we would. The need for humans to bury their dead has been there for thousands of years and is a very powerful, primeval impulse.

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  15. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    If it was me in that mine (far more likely than any other family member since I am a coal geologist) I would like my family not to risk other people’s lives and money to get my body out. At best they’ll get some charred bone.

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  16. Warren Murray (314 comments) says:

    Tin, actually if one of the deceased was one of mine, my view would be as indicated above, it’s sad but a harsh reality, if the chances of recovery is slim, it looks like a waste.

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  17. Steve (North Shore) (4,589 comments) says:

    I think it is high time this was done and should have been done within 3 months of the accident.
    Find and remove the body remains so the families can have closure.
    The tell the fucking Greenies to fuck off and open cast mine the whole place. After that is done there must be a memorial put in place just like any other disaster

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  18. Tinshed (170 comments) says:

    Warren Murray – I do understand this point of view and in some ways would like to think I would be the same. However my experience tells me that when you “walk in someone else’s shoes”, you have a different perspective from what you first thought. Compassion and empathy, which is what I am arguing for, is a strong part of my political conservatism.

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  19. jcuk (713 comments) says:

    “The need for humans to bury their dead has been there for thousands of years and is a very powerful, primeval impulse.”

    It is one of the foolish things that some religions practice, others burn the bodies, which is what I have in my will instead of cluttering up the earth with my remains. That is assuming there is no use for my remains by the medical profession.

    This experiment is no doubt an interesting exercise on the part of the mining people using the excuse of the blather from the relatives.
    Even the Minister says it is unlikely to result in what the families want but obviously he is too much of a politician, as the rest of the Cabinet, to tell the relatives to get on with their lives.
    All up an appalling waste of money like the referendum vote which should be held in conjunction with the election otherwise that is 16 million down the guirgler …. democracy my arse.

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  20. lilman (967 comments) says:

    Cant say I agree with this,wasting money on the dead is just crazy.Why dont they let them stay where they are,what will it take for this ever to be over as they wont be satisfied after this I can guarentee.

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  21. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    These three Labour MPs sliming around NZ with their entourage of left-wing bludging journos will be costing taxpayers a hell of a lot more than this retrieval. Time to put things into perspective, but I think it is a decision for affected, not multitudes.

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  22. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    When I hear Bernie Monk I think I hear vindictiveness. It would be interesting (if it is possible ) to compare other situations. Thinking of murders/ missing people most people seem happy “just to know”.

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  23. hj (7,066 comments) says:

    having said that murders usually have a body but people think “we’re glad their suffering is over”. On the other hand people lost at sea sort of know where they are. Burial at sea is acceptable.

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  24. Paulus (2,664 comments) says:

    Looking forward to hearing on the Witness stand at Whittall’s show trial in January, what the loud mouth friend and follower of Bernie Monks, namely the well paid Manager, Health and Safety, Neville Rockhouse, who at the Royal commission continually blamed Management.
    Whilst it is sad that one of Mr Rockhouse’s sons was killed in the Mine – what was your job “Health & Safety” ?
    What does Safety mean?
    Yet you allowed two of your sons to be miners in the Pike River Mine.

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