Despair in Greymouth

Greymouth families who have lost their husbands, fathers, sons or brothers in the Pike River Coal mine, are facing more despair. It now seems unlikely that the bodies of the 29 miners will be recovered soon. Another explosion occurred yesterday and this one sent out black, coal smoke. This means that the mine is on fire. The company may have to close and seal the mine to stop all air going in. It will be some weeks before rescuers can go into the mine to recover the bodies.

The Prime Minister, John Key, said that there will be a Royal Commission of Inquiry to find out what caused the deaths of the miners. It is also important to know if the three other underground coal mines in New Zealand are safe. The inquiry will be led by a judge with two experts on mining to help. It will be like a court with lawyers, and will be open to the public. Most of the inquiry will be held in Greymouth so that the families can attend. It could take many months to hear all the evidence and could cost up to $5m.

Questions
Is underground coal mining too dangerous? Are open cast mines a better idea?






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