Technical experts in ventilation and geotechnical engineering will gather again in Greymouth soon to further refine concept plans for recovering the Pike River Mine drift access tunnel.

A panel of technical experts met in Greymouth at the start of May to initiate the creation of a plan for safe manned re-entry of the drift.  Following that workshop, the Agency has been working through feasible methodologies for safely re-entering and recovering the drift. The upcoming two-day workshop will focus on planning more detail around boreholes.

“That requires input from both ventilation and geotech experts as it will include looking at location, size and quantity required, and also detailing the planning around second means of egress options,” Agency Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson says. 

The workshop being held on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 June at the New Zealand Mines Rescue facility in Rapahoe refines elements of the baseline concept plan being presented to Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Hon Andrew Little in June. 

This session will include seven Agency technical expert advisors in person, three Agency expert advisors providing input from their own office bases, and two Family Reference Group experts advisors in person.  Agency staff, representatives from WorkSafe, New Zealand Mines Rescue, and the Department of Conservation will also be involved.

Concurrently, the agency is in the process of seeking a specialist supplier to both assist with developing detailed plans, and to undertake, if approved, the manned re-entry and recovery works.  The supplier is also likely to be required to undertake mine sealing and rehabilitation works at the completion of the project.

That procurement process is now at the stage of ascertaining the preferred suppliers.  They will then be asked to respond to a Request for Proposal process.