Pike River Mine Inquiry

The Pike River Mine Commission is still listening to evidence about why 29 men died at the mine last November. Each day, we hear about things that were not right at the mine. There were money problems. The mine was losing money and the men were under pressure to bring out more coal. They were promised a bonus of up to $100,000 if they could increase the amount of coal they mined. Some of the miners covered up the methane gas sensors and used explosives in an unsafe manner. The managers would not listen when they were told about safety problems.

Nobody told the Board of Directors about the mine being unsafe.

The former Chief Executive resigned just seven weeks before the explosion. He moved to Australia and refused to return to give evidence to the Royal Commission. He was the Chief Executive for three years, from the time when the Pike River mine first began. Right from the beginning, there were problems with the mine. The plan was to produce 1 million tonnes of coal a year from 2007 but the first coal was not until early 2010 and that was only 60,000 tonnes. It was always a difficult mine. It had a long tunnel and there were many technical problems.

For more about the Pike River Mine, type “coal” in the search box.

Vocabulary
evidence – people tell what they know
under pressure – stress
bonus – extra money
sensor – it can tell when there are high methane levels
former – the one before, previous
resigned – left his job and moved to another job
produce coal – remove it from the mine so that it can be sold
technical problems e.g. with machines






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