Pike River Mine protesters ramped up their action this morning, fired up after a frustrating meeting with Solid Energy management in Greymouth yesterday.

Today is the 17th day of protest action to disrupt the final sealing of the mine portal.

Rather than thinning, protest numbers at the mine access road each morning as Solid Energy staff arrive on site have continued to grow and today numbered about 24 before they were moved along peacefully by the police.

Ngahere resident Tommy Daly said West Coast police area commander Inspector Mel Aitken visited this morning and asked them to move their cars off the road to let mine staff and contractors through.


They had a meeting, and decided to comply. They then shifted up to the mine gates.

"She called for back-up," Mr Daly said.

Four more police cars were back down the road at the memorial site.

"They asked us to move and we did, in the end."

Mine families spokesman Bernie Monk joined picketers this morning to explain the meeting with Solid Energy.

Mr Daly said they only wanted site work to stop for a week, and have a day or even an afternoon to sit down and discuss things.

"They didn't even consider it for a millionth of a second," Mr Daly said.

Meanwhile, supporters are continuing to target contractors and MPs, including Prime Minister John Key.

Flames burn from a ventilation shaft above the Pike River mine where 29 miners and contractors died in 2010. Photo / NZPA
Flames burn from a ventilation shaft above the Pike River mine where 29 miners and contractors died in 2010. Photo / NZPA

Mr Monk said there was no point trying to deal with Solid Energy any longer as they had refused to meet with any of the mine experts who had backed their efforts for re-entry in the mine drift to check for the possibility of bodies.

"The Prime Minister is the one who made the promise to get our boys out, and he should front up himself rather than sending his monkeys to deliver the hard word," Mr Monk said.

"What makes it worse is the seal already in place complies with WorkSafe's conditions. There's absolutely no need to pour 30m of concrete in there. It feels like they're just doing it because they want this whole thing to go away."

The families believe it is safe to enter and remove evidence, and "that's what's going to happen".

Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton was killed in the 2010 explosion, said she had personally had offers from Mines Rescue experts to crew a re-entry.

"We're simply not going to walk away and let our loved ones and the knowledge of what happened to them be permanently sealed away," she said.

But Solid Energy maintains their position that it is unsafe to enter the mine and said last week the withdrawal of Allied Concrete would not stop the mine being sealed by early 2017.

- Greymouth Star, NZME