Work Continues to Extinguish Fire at Pike River
Recovery operations at the mine, which located in a remote region near the town of Atarau on New Zealand's South Island, continue under the control of the NZ Police working with industry experts and Pike River.
Following a meeting of the Pike River Board, board Chairman John Dow said, “Recovery of the 29 men lost in the Pike River mine remained the company’s top priority. The board, however, also had now to consider the company’s wider situation. It is imperative that the company be able to assess the level of damage to the mine as soon as possible in order to reach meaningful conclusions about the options available to us.” This would involve undertaking any repairs, replacements and rebuilding work and an assessment of the commercial feasibility of resuming operations.
“None of that, however, can happen until the recovery operation is successfully completed and we can go back underground safely,” Dow said. “Once we can get back underground, Pike will be an advanced development project, given that all surface infrastructure remains intact, including surface facilities, pipelines, the coal preparation plant, roading and rail load-out facilities at Ikamatua.”
Initial reports said that shortly before the blast the mine lost power, which may have caused ventilation problems. That may have contributed to a buildup of gas underground. The mine accesses the coal seam, which lies at a depth of about 600 ft, through a 1.4-mile tunnel.