Robot likely to enter Pike River mine next week

Another robot is to make its way into the Pike River Coal mine either this weekend or next week, receivers say.

PricewaterhouseCoopers took control of the mine yesterday, but have said they will hand the mine back to police if recovery of bodies becomes a possibility.

Receiver John Fisk says PWC's responsibility is to recover the money lent to secured creditors. He says the body recovery operation is the responsibility of the police and that operation stopped some time ago.

"If we can to a position where evidence or body recovery becomes a possibility again, then that task will be handed back to police," he told Newstalk ZB.

John Fisk says the families of the 29 miners will be told if re-entry into the mine is possible.

He says Pike River Coal will implement the mine stabilisation plan prepared by the company management in conjunction with expert mining advisers. A separate fund has been set aside for this purpose.

"Stabilisation is a necessary first step to allow the investigation of options for the mine. However, there can be no assurance that the stabilisation plan will be successful or, even if it is, whether other options such as an eventual re-entry to all or part of the mine will be feasible," he says.

Mr Fisk says there are no explosions happening in the mine, but it's not in a state where people can enter. He says one of the next steps is to send a robot from Western Australia up the mine shaft over the weekend or early next week.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn is encouraging the receivers to do everything they can to recover the remains of the men.

"I think it's a moral obligation from the receivers now to go back to their shareholders to find the cash to enable that recovery to happen."

Tony Kokshoorn says the families are still grieving, and won't be able to move on until they get their loved ones' remains back.

He says it will be good for everyone if the receivers work to reopen the mine. Mr Kokshoorn says the government's borrowing $250 million a week, and the Christchurch rebuild's expected to cost 15 billion.

"We have huge mineral here on the West Coast so it's just common sense and a no-brainer that you will actually make sure that mineral wealth turns into wealth for the country."

Tony Kokshoorn says Pike River mine has between $6 billion and $10 billion worth of coal.

- Newstalk ZB

- Newstalk ZB

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