Pike River drift re-entry project


In relation to its project to re-enter the drift at Pike River Mine, safety is the absolute priority for Solid Energy, says Board Chair Pip Dunphy.

“We understand that the time it is taking to complete our evaluation of the risks is frustrating for the family members and we are trying to complete this work as quickly as we can,” Ms Dunphy says. “It is Solid Energy’s responsibility to make this decision and we will do so, once we have all the information required to make a fully-informed decision.”

Ms Dunphy says Solid Energy is obliged to consult with WorkSafe if and when the company considers it has a safe and credible plan to re-enter the drift.

In October 2013, a date referenced in correspondence from WorkSafe New Zealand, Solid Energy had only just received the initial risk assessment. “In August 2013, we received the preliminary risk assessment work, a document which highlights the step-by-step risks. That was also the time when we were fully engaged with the process of sealing the ventilation shaft.

“The process is iterative and comprehensive. Following the preliminary risk assessment, the Board’s advisor recommended further assessment of the risks, a step which is aligned to industry best practice. This has involved much more detailed examinations of all risks which could lead to serious injury or fatalities, and this was completed in July this year.

“We are now in a stage of final oversight review by the management team and independent experts and are awaiting some of these last evaluations and individual experts’ opinions,” Ms Dunphy says.