16 February 2017
The Chair of Solid Energy confirmed at today’s Select Committee meeting that his Board stands by their 2014 decision that the mine drift remains unsafe for a manned re-entry and is pleased that their decision is supported by the Mines Rescue Trust, as well as the Crown.
A statement from the Board of the Mines Rescue Trust was tabled in the Select Committee meeting acknowledging that “the health and safety factors considered by the Solid Energy Board in a non-emergency context, lead to a reasonable decision not to pursue a drift re-entry”.
The Mines Rescue Trust Board agrees with the Solid Energy Board that while technically feasible, “.. the residual risk to life for the whole operation remains high, and until such time as the risks can be reduced to an acceptable level, re-entry is not a task the (Mines Rescue) Board are prepared to take in a non-emergency situation.”
Andy Coupe, Chair of Solid Energy also noted the acknowledgement from WorkSafe NZ that significant risk associated with re-entry remains within the drift beyond the 170m seal even with a full methane drawback.
Mr Coupe said that the Solid Energy directors are pleased that the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday about exploring options for an unmanned entry may provide some relief for the Pike families and a way forward that doesn’t put any further human life at risk.
“Technology developments may well offer a new option that has the potential to address some of the families’ concerns and alleviate the current impasse,” he said. “The company looks forward to being formally advised of the government’s intentions and seeing the proposals for remotely examining the drift.”