Families of the 29 men killed in the 2010 Pike River Mine disaster have been invited by the expert recovery team to join them underground next month.

The Pike River Recovery Agency (PRRA) will ferry family members in a driftrunner machine into the West Coast mine to the 170 metre barrier on October 3.

It will be the furthest any of the families have gone since the re-entry efforts started in May this year.

The PRRA operation is looking to see whether it can recover the 29 men killed during the November 19, 2010 disaster.


Expert miners had been working for months to purge methane and oxygen from the mine by pumping in nitrogen through pipes before they headed underground in May.

Progress has been slow and held up with unexpected delays.

But today, the PRRA said that they've cleared the area between the old 30m concrete seal and the 170m barrier and checked the roof and carried out rebolting work.

It's now completing its WorkSafe documentation around proceeding past the 170m barrier to recover the Pike River Mine drift access tunnel.

Some family members ventured up to the 30m seal before it was breached on May 21.