The economic impact of the Pike Rive mine disaster is being felt on the West Coast, with the mine suspending contracts after the tragedy.

Twenty-nine men died following explosions in the coal mine, the first trapping them underground on November 19.

Asked yesterday about the possible reopening of the mine, Pike River CEO Peter Whittall said he hoped it would not have to remain closed for the entire length of the wide-ranging royal commission of inquiry into the tragedy.

However, he accepted that inquiries by police, the coroner and the Department of Labour into the specifics of the Pike River mine incident would have to be completed before it could be reopened.

As the future of the mine remains unknown, larger contracts have been suspended and smaller contracts are now under review.

Chris Yeats, who owns Chris Yeats Building, south of Greymouth, told Radio New Zealand he lost three staff in the mine blast who were working as contractors for Pike River.

Mr Yeats said work at the mine made up around 10 per cent of his firm's business. Chris Yeats Building built the mining complex's pumphouse and shower block, as well as undertaking work in the mine itself.

Mr Yeats said he was confident the company would not be hit too badly by the suspension of the contracts, but believed smaller businesses could suffer more.

"Fortunately we have quite a lot of other work above ground," he said. "I think there are a couple of smaller business contractors ... I'm not sure what affect there will be on them, but I suspect it will be more than on us."

The closure of the mine, temporary or otherwise, would have a considerable affect on the West Coast economy, Mr Yeats said.

"I think it is clear it will have an impact, quite a major impact, because there was quite a lot of money coming from Pike to the community."

Pike River mine is estimated to have pumped around $80 million each year into the West Coast economy, $13 million of that in wages alone.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn said five years ago there was no Pike River mine and the West Coast had a strong economy and predicted it would now return to pre-Pike Mine levels.

"No doubt about it there will be a knock, but we will get through it," he told Radio New Zealand. "We have in the past and we will again."

Prime Minister John Key has said that men would not be going back into the mine to work until all parties considered it safe.

- NZHERALD STAFF