Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for the Pike River Re-Entry, will tomorrow receive a plan from the Pike River Recovery Agency with a preferred option to go into the mine's drift.

Little told Newshub Nation at the weekend that it would "almost certainly" require more funding, which he would seek from Cabinet.

Up to $23 million over three years has been budgeted.

"Once I have the agency's report … my independent ministerial adviser's report, and the decision from Cabinet on the funding, then I'll make a decision. That'll be mid-November," Little told Newshub.


Little has previously said he hoped re-entry could happen by December.

The Government has committed to re-enter the mine's drift, and options for how that could be done were taken to the families of the 29 men whose bodies lie inside and approved earlier this year.

Little said at the time that the three options put up by the agency were quite similar, but had differences in how they organised a second exit point, and the order in which parts of the plan happened.

On November 19, 2010, a methane blast at the mine, 46km northeast of Greymouth, trapped and killed the 29 workers inside.

The mine workings and drift tunnel are full of methane, which is dangerous when mixed with fresh air.

The Pike River Recovery Agency's plan to conduct a safe manned re-entry is based on filling the tunnel with fresh air, so people re-entering can breathe normally without breathing apparatus. To do that, the methane needs to be purged from the mine workings and tunnel with nitrogen.

Earlier this month, the components for making up the nitrogen plant required for the Pike River Mine re-entry arrived at the mine site.

The plant was expected to take around 10 days to set up. Once up and running, it would pump nitrogen into the mine portal for pre-entry testing to indicate how long it might take to push nitrogen through the mine.