Canterbury Branch: ​Pike River Mine - Re-entry Challenges and Risks – Our Journey

20/08/2021 07:00am to 8:00am

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Pike River Mine - Re-entry Challenges and Risks – Our Journey

The Pike River Coal Mine explosion on the 19th November 2010 claimed the lives of 29 men. 31 were working underground at the time of the explosion, only 2 were able to escape.

The subsequent explosions resulted in the mine being sealed.

Prior to the 2017 general election, the families of the lost miners and the New Zealand public were promised that a Labour-elected government would support and fund a re-entry if it was deemed technically viable and safe to do so. After the election, on 31 January 2018, the Labour Party established the Pike River Recovery Agency Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa (the Agency) as a stand-alone government department.

The Agency’s objectives are to conduct a manned recovery of the mine drift to:

The Agency works in close partnership with the Family Reference Group (FRG) and their technical experts who together play a central role in the planning, decision making and implementation of the safe manned re-entry of the Pike River Mine drift.

The evidence gathering processes are directed by the NZ Police Investigation team who provide onsite oversight of all the forensic processes conducted.

The Agency operates in a publicly transparent and open fashion with rigorous assessment of risks and control measures associated with the manned re-entry of the drift.

This presentation covers

Chief Operating Officer – Pike River Recovery Agency

Dinghy Pattinson

Dinghy has over four decades of underground mining experience in New Zealand, He was appointed Chief Operating Officer of the Pike River Recovery Agency in early 2018.

In this role, Dinghy oversees the planning and operational elements of the Pike River re-entry work and has responsibility for ensuring activities at the mine comply with statutory health and safety requirements. His numerous mining qualifications include Site Senior Executive and First Class Mine Managers certificates in coal and metalliferous, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Coal Mine Strata Control from the University of New South Wales.

In addition to his strong mining background, for the past 37 years, Dinghy has been actively involved with the NZ Mines Rescue Service in the roles of Brigadesman, Station Manager, and Board Member. Some of Dinghy’s most vivid memories as a brigade’s member was recovering mines that had been on fire and or exploded. Dinghy’s rich mining background has experienced the changes in workplace culture from taking risks to now mitigating risks and the Pike River Project is one of New Zealand’s highest risk projects that has been undertaken to date.


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