Police are on the verge of a decision on criminal charges over the Pike River mine disaster.

A royal commission of inquiry into the mine explosions that killed 29 workers resumes next month and police investigators are closing in on a finding that will dictate which people or groups, if any, are prosecuted.

"We should be at a point within the next week or so where we will have a recommendation," officer in charge Detective Superintendent Peter Read told the Herald yesterday.

The Department of Labour has already laid 25 health and safety charges against Pike River Coal, its former chief executive Peter Whittall and VLI Drilling.


The royal commission is required to report its findings no later than March 31. Mr Read said police had been following what came out of the commission hearings, but had largely relied on their own work - producing over 25,000 pages of transcripts from interviews.

"It makes it a little bit harder with the fact you can't actually get into the mine. The opinion the experts are giving us is based on information without a scene examination."