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Pike River mine latest news

pike river milestone
Family members welcome a significant milestone in the mine drift’s recovery. Picture by Stuff

The Pike River Recovery Agency has released a video update about the Agency’s operations with Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson and Chief Executive Dave Gawn.

In the Video, Dinghy mentioned that during COVID-19, they lost eight weeks, which had a big impact on their works and costs. However, the Agency made some changes about to try and recover that time, including changing recovery team’s rosters. The team used to work 80 hours a fortnight and now they work 90 hours a fortnight.

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Dinghy said: “The Agency also brought in an early morning pre-shift examination on the day shift. They examine the mine while the morning meeting’s being undertaken, so that saves time as well.”

There is rapid progress since Russell’s loader with all those improvements.

They still confident that the recovery team will be at the end of tunnel by the end of the year.

Work will be completed in three phases:


During the planning phase we brought together existing information, appointed expert contractors, assessed the risks and developed a plan to re-enter the mine and recover the drift.

In November 2018 the Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry decided re-entry could proceed.  The Agency stepped beyond the 30m seal of the drift access tunnel on Tuesday 21 May 2019.

The Agency stepped beyond the 170m barrier on Tuesday 17 December 2019.  The recovery plans are available on this website in the Documents section – search “Exemption Documents”.


Following the 21 May 2019 re-entry, and stepping through the 170m barrier on 17 December 2019, the recovery phase has now begun. This involves gathering evidence along the 2.3km drift; and, if possible, recovering any human remains.


After the recovery work is complete, the mine will be sealed (with a reversible seal) and the site will be rehabilitated. Visit the Rehabilitation, Closure and Handover Report 2019 for more information.  The site will then return to the Department of Conservation for ongoing stewardship and development of a memorial and information centre.

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