Pike River protest action entered its 12th day today with Geotech in the firing line and further court action under way.

A larger 20-strong group was on site at first light as Solid Energy staff arrived at work.
Allied Concrete yesterday pulled out of the sealing job.

"We're told a number of other workers and contractors have now decided to join in this stand too, and have downed tools. We sincerely, deeply thank them all," campaigners announced on the Stand by Pike Facebook page.

"We have learned that work at the mine is now effectively at a standstill, thanks to the principled stand of Allied Concrete."


The campaign has now shifted to Charleston-based Geotech.

Bernie Monk joined the protesters this morning and said he had contacted Geotech.

He asked them to down tools but was told "that's not going to happen", he said.

Solid Energy now has just over three months to complete the outer seal.

When asked if they would protest until then, Monk said they were taking it "day by day". Further legal action is also under way targeting Work Safe.

Work Safe said yesterday it had done an internal review of two improvement notices placed on Solid Energy requiring work on sealing the mine to be completed by the end of November and February next year respectively, and the application for a stay on those notices.

Deputy general manager Jo-Ann Pugh said the improvement notices were properly issued.

"Once Solid Energy decided in November 2014 not to re-enter the mine, it then had legal obligations to make the mine safe for eventual abandonment. Legislative and regulatory provisions required Solid Energy to replace the previous temporary seal with a type C seal and then to construct a final abandonment seal to meet its obligations to make the mine safe."

Lawyers for Monk, Anna Osborne and Sonya Rockhouse are now appealing this to the District Court.

Solid Energy said yesterday afternoon it had completed the first stage of the sealing of the Pike River Mine.

The focus had now moved to the next stage of sealing which is the construction of a thicker, stronger seal that provides a more robust barrier against any pressure surge in the mine, such as explosion or water.

"Solid Energy sees no way that the site can be left incompletely sealed when risk assessments have identified potential occurrences that may arise in the future which the seal design will address," it said in a statement.

With agreement from the families, the seal was technically reversible.
Geotech declined to comment.

- Greymouth Star