Further management changes are afoot at the troubled Spring Creek underground coalmine, which has been through seven managers in fewer than five years.

Chief operating officer Barry Bragg was in Greymouth today to discuss the details with the mine's entire 130 staff. Meetings started before the sun was up with the last one was scheduled for this evening.

Solid Energy said extra resources were being drafted in, after the Department of Labour shut down the Dunollie mine last month due to three safety failures.

The most recent mine manager, Greg Duncan, has been seconded to focus on health and safety systems, with Craig Smith to take over as site manager.


Company spokesman Bryn Somerville said additional resources were being brought in to support the site.

Asked about the number of managers, he said the mine had "had a lot of issues and challenges".

The miners are still not back underground, although some safety work is being done underground. The mine was not producing coal at the time and has been in development phase for the past month or so.

The Department of Labour lifted its prohibition notice more than two weeks ago. It brought work to a halt after a diesel generator above ground caught fire and injected high concentrations of carbon monoxide into the mine, one of the main fans tripped with no alert to management for 90 minutes, and an underground auxiliary fan tripped on two consecutive days, but did not stop the mining machine as it should have.

On Sunday, a change in the barometric pressure meant some seals in panel eight showed increased oxygen levels. Nitrogen was pumped in to keep the atmosphere inert, which is standard procedure.

Both the Department of Labour and Solid Energy said that was not a notifiable event.

- Greymouth Star