The decision to re-enter the Pike River coal mine has once more been delayed, leaving families of those who died ‘absolutely gutted’.
The journey from the initial Pike River coal mine explosions in late 2010 to now has been a traumatic one for the families of the 29 men who lost their lives in the incident.
The decision to enter the mine to recover the bodies of the men has been repeatedly delayed due to ongoing concerns about toxic gases inside and the stability of the mine’s tunnels.
Plans for re-entry of the mine were first put on the table by Pike’s new owners Solid Energy nearly a year ago, with New Zealand Government approvals swiftly following.
Families of the miners lost in the incident were yesterday expecting a decision on re-entry, however Solid Energy announced that it would not be considering the project at the company’s upcoming board meeting, despite “expectation in the community,” according to The Press.
Spokesperson for the families, Bernie Monk, labelled this latest decision an “absolute embarrassment to New Zealand”.
He went on to state that it appears as if Solid is attempting to avoid the task altogether.
"What frustrates me is we're surrounded by people – I'm not going to name them – that don't want to do the job, and that's the biggest problem we're facing at the moment," he said on Firstline.
"Why don't they come out and say it so we can actually get our experts in and actually do the job? This is the most frustrating part about the whole thing."
The re-entry was originally slated for April, and then pushed back to June, while a next attempt is currently undated.