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Products of combustion and underground work at Pike River Mine

pike river mine
A driftrunner emerging from the Pike River Mine portal.

Pike River Recovery Agency has announced that mine workers are back working underground following the recent withdrawal due to the presence of “products of combustion”.

A couple of weeks ago the team working underground encountered an unusual substance on the walls and roof of the tunnel and took samples.  

Explore content in our Pike River Archive

“The reason we do all the tests we do and plan for every eventuality is so that we can take action when something like this occurs.  The health of all workers on site is always our top priority,” Chief Operating Officer Dinghy Pattinson says. 

A number of control measures have been instigated to mitigate any potential effects of exposure to personnel. The combustion dates back to the 2010 mine explosion and subsequent fires.

A Principal Hazard Management Plan was drafted, peer reviewed and shared with WorkSafe and the workforce.

Experts engaged by the Agency (industrial hygienists and mining experts) agreed the control measures would mitigate any potential for exposure, and that mine workers would be able to re-enter the drift when the measures were in place.  The appropriate engineering controls as well as appropriate PPE, decontamination, ongoing monitoring and testing have been established.

Since returning underground late last week, the mine workers have been focused on roof and rib bolting and it’s likely they will be able to advance from 1632m this afternoon, Pike River Recovery Agency stated.

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AMSJ April 2022