The company which owns the Pike River Coal Mine is in receivership. This is another disaster for Greymouth.
If you have not followed this news story before, click on coal under Tags to listen to other items in December and November on the Pike River Coal Mine disaster.
Receivership means that the company is running out of money and the future of the mine is not certain. The company has about $9m in the bank but owes the miners their final pay and redundancy, owes New Zealand Oil and Gas $64m and owes the Bank of NZ $23m. Many of the workers at the mine were not coal miners and they did not work for the Pike River Coal company. Instead they worked for contractors like a building company, concrete company, or an electrical company. They will be the last ones to get paid, if there is any money left.
The jet machine that is pumping CO2 into the mine costs $10,000 an hour. Another machine is arriving soon to pump in nitrogen to cool the mine and make it safe so that the bodies can be recovered. The company does not have enough money to pay for these expensive machines. However, the Prime Minister said that the government will pay.
Meanwhile 149 miners have no job. This means the economy of the West Coast will suffer. It also means that some miners will move to Australia where there are coal mining jobs.
At the moment, nobody can say whether Pike River Coal Mine will ever open again.
1. Coal from Pike River was sent by rail to Christchurch where it was exported. Now, with the mine closed, Kiwi Rail has lost that business. What other businesses will be affected by the close of the coal mine?
2. The coal under this mountain is high grade coal and some countries will pay high prices for it. Should this mine be closed forever because of the dangers of mining?
3. New Zealand is trying to reduce greenhouse gases? Should we sell coal to other countries so that they can add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere?
4. The mayor of Greymouth suggested that the top should be taken off the mountain to make an open-cast mine. This would be much safer than an underground mine. However, this is conservation land. What do you think?