Looks like Pike River mine will be entered

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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