A $1 million multi-purpose training facility is under way at the Mines Rescue station, although the number of underground miners on the West Coast has plummeted with the closure of the Pike River and Spring Creek mines.

Mines Rescue West Coast general manager Trevor Watts said today that although there were now only 56 underground miners left on the Coast, the development was still needed.

While the coal industry was going through hard times currently he was sure it would bounce back.

"We have complete faith in the mining industry. While miners have lost their jobs, a large number of them remain in other employment on the Coast and remain members of Mines Rescue," Mr Watts said.


"Despite recent high profile mine closures on the West Coast the industry is very positive about the new facility.

"This is an exciting project for both the mining community and the West Coast and is a facility that will be here for years to come."

Construction started in mid-January and was on target to open in June or July.

The new facility, to be known as the Development West Coast training centre, was funded by a $1m grant from DWC's Pike River distribution fund set up in the wake of the 2010 mine tragedy.

DWC trustee Mark Lockington, who chaired the distribution fund, said the trust believed the development was an ideal project to assist both the mining industry and local economy.

"This training centre will be a valuable asset on the Coast now and in the future. While Mines Rescue will run it we would encourage other Coast businesses to make the most of the facility."

Mr Watts said Mines Rescue was not changing or expanding its core business by inviting other organisations to use the facility.

"There are still a lot of working mines on the Coast, and as well as our core work for the mining industry we also provide external training for other industries including drilling, dairying, construction, engineering and civil works. The industry is keen to be able to use the facility and it puts us in a strong position to meet their demands when mining does bounce back."

- The Greymouth Star