Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little visited Greymouth today to meet up with Pike River Mine families.

Minister and Family Reference Group representatives visit Pike River Mine site

Anna and Sonya emerge from the mine.

Family Reference Group representatives Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse walked for the first time up to the 30 metre seal at the Pike River Mine.

Sonya Rockhouse removes her tag after going into the Pike River Mine.

Sonya Rockhouse removes her tag after going into the Pike River Mine, watched by Pike River Recovery Agency Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson.

The visit to the Pike River Mine site today

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little, members of the Family Reference Group Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse with Pike River Recovery Agency's Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson and Chief Executive Dave Gawn after walking 30 metres into the mine entrance today.

Pike River Recovery Minister catches up with families

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-Entry Andrew Little visited Greymouth today to meet up with Pike River Mine families.

The Minister had asked the agency to arrange the catch-up with the wider families of those who were killed or survived the Pike River Mine explosion on 19 November 2010.

The agency was established this year to:  

  • Develop a plan for safe manned re-entry to the mine drift
  • Provide advice to the Minister on whether that could be safely achieved
  • Oversee the implementation of that plan if the Minister makes a decision to proceed on the strength of that advice
  • To try and find out what happened to create the explosion which killed 29 men
  • To recover any bodies in the drift. 

It works in partnership with the Families Reference Group.

Pike River Recovery Agency Chief Executive Dave Gawn welcomed the visit.

“The Minister wants to make himself available to the wider families group.  He’s keen that they hear about our progress.  There’s been a lot of work on recruitment and establishing the Agency, and the hard graft on proposed re-entry planning is also underway.  At the same time, our core team are receiving the training they need to do their jobs, and there’s a very detailed and thorough schedule of work to ensure that the mine is compliant during this planning phase,” Mr Gawn says.

“We’re in regular contact with the Minister and on track to provide him with advice within the next couple of months about the first stages of manned re-entry of the mine drift.  We are forming a strong partnership in this endeavour with the Families Reference Group. The Minister will be able to check in with people from the wider families group that they have a similar understanding.”

The Minister visited the Mine Portal this morning with Families Reference Group members and Agency staff.  The afternoon included Agency briefings on the current work programme for the Minister and the wider families group; and an opportunity for the wider families group to meet privately with either the Minister or Chief Executive.

“We’re very much aware the nation is watching our work.  We have a responsibility to these families to help them get closure.  This meeting was a good opportunity to update these families,” Mr Gawn says.