In the Pike River Recovery Agency’s final milestone for 2020, mine workers last night reached the Rocsil Plug near the end of the drift, 349 days after dismantling the 170m barrier.

Photo of Rick, Luke, Dinghy, Greg and Liam at the Rocsil Plug on 23 December.Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson says around 8pm the afternoon shift reached the plug which was installed in early November 2019. 

“We’ve now achieved another milestone - reaching the Rocsil Plug around 2244m up the Pike River Mine drift.  This is as far as we go this year, as we close down for Christmas today and restart on Tuesday 5 January 2021,” he says.

2021 will begin with some final forensic work around the plug area and the installation of the ventilation control device - VCD2 - effectively a wall with an airlock/doors.  The steel and sprayed concrete structure has machine doors and a man door and will be located approximately 2224m up the drift out-bye the Rocsil plug.

Once VCD2 is in place, fresh air will be able to be circulated right up to that point in the drift.  After that, mine workers wearing BG4 (long duration breathing apparatus) will go through an airlock door in the VCD wall, tunnel through (approximately 10metres) the plug, and recover the last few metres to the roof fall, to carry out the final forensic searches of the drift. 

Then the Agency moves on to the next stage:  Completing the forensics search and recovery operations at pit bottom in stone.

A short video clip (no sound, sorry!) is available on the Agency's YouTube channel:  https://youtu.be/GIR4fTJD13M