Miners missing after NZ

coal shaft blast

November 19, 2010 – 12:44PM

Up to 30 miners are missing after an explosion at a New Zealand coal mine.

The blast occurred at the Pike River Coal mine near Greymouth on the south island about 4.30pm (2.30pm AEDT) today.

Regular updates here

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In a statement, police said there were people ‘‘known to be in the mine’’.

‘‘Emergency services are currently attending an incident at the Pike River Coal Processing Plant in Atarau which is half way between Greymouth and Reefton,’’ police said.

Local mayor said he had been told up to 30 miners are unaccounted for.

‘‘It’s not good news. (Police) say there’s between 25 and 30 miners unaccounted for after a big explosion at the mine,’’ Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn told Radio New Zealand.

Chairman John Dow refused to comment when contacted by The Press, but chief executive Peter Whittall is expected to comment soon.

The Pike River Mine is on the opposite side of the Paparoa Ranges from the now closed Strongman State Mine where 19 miners died in an explosion in 1968.

The Pike River mine has been beset by delay, most particularly the collapse of an air ventilation shaft when it was close to opening for production.

The mine is the source of high grade coal used in steel production, most particularly for the Indian market.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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