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Pike River recovery team reaches 170m seal

Pike river Mine 170 metre seal

The New Zealand Pike River Recovery team has successfully reached the 170-metre mark as part of the recovery operation of the mine drift. A team this week crossed through the 170-metre seal and conducted an inspection of the areas in anticipation of the removal of the seal and exploration of the drift for evidence associated with the disaster.

The milestone comes as the Regulator approved the re-entry to the drift without a secondary means for egress just two weeks ago.

Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson said “That was a long time coming” as he

“We’ve been going in and out of the drift up to the 170m barrier since 21 May.  But last time I was on the other side of that 170, I was part of the Mines Rescue team looking for where to put a wall.  And that was back in 2011.  So today was pretty significant for me.”

The team’s initial scan did not reveal anything unexpected, he added.

Pike River Mine Seal

“We know we’ll have to do some work on the roof and ribs as soon as we get the barrier out of the way in January.  But it’s looking pretty good.”

Dinghy Pattinson, Chief Operating Officer, Pike River Recovery Agency

“We’ve got a big job to undertake over coming months, and we wanted to get through if it was safe to do so before our Christmas closedown,” Dinghy said. “We’ll shut and secure the door now for a couple of weeks – it will give us more time to monitor the underground environment – before starting to remove the barrier in the new year.”

The team who went in checked for any hazards inspected the state of the tunnel’s roof and walls and had a brief forensic scan. 

Pike river Mine 170 metre seal
Looking outby at the 170m seal

Included in the Pike River Recovery team who accessed the 170 metre seal were:  Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson, Acting Underviewer Kirk Neilson, Mine Deputy Bryan Heslip, and Geotechnical Engineer Chris (Rick) Lee.

Information provided by Pike River Recovery Agency. You can read more on the Agencies Website

You also might like to read our extensive range of stories on Pike River in our Pike River Archives

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AMSJ April 2022