Pike River Report

The Royal Commission Report on the tragedy at the Pike River coal mine was released today.

On 19th November 2010, 29 men died in an explosion in the Pike River mine. Listen to November 20th 2010 to hear about this.

Between July and November last year, a Royal Commission listened to evidence about what happened. Today’s report made 16 recommendations to make sure a tragedy like this never happens again.

Listen to July 13th 2011 to hear about the Royal Commission of Inquiry.

The report says that the Pike River Mine Board was more concerned with money than with safety. The mine opened before it was ready and miners were offered money to work longer hours and increase the amount of coal to sell. For several months before the explosion, there were high levels of methane gas in the mine but the mine was not shut down.

The Labour Department did not do enough safety checks of the mine. Kate Wilkinson, the Minister of Labour, resigned today from her position as minister because she said this tragedy happened on her “watch”.

The Prime Minister, John Key, said today that there will be changes in the mining industry based on these 16 recommendations. This includes the government’s role concerning safety in mines. There will be a special government agency to check on health and safety in mines. John Key said these deaths were preventable. A tragedy like this should never happen again.

Type ‘coal’ in the search box to follow the many news items on the Pike River tragedy.

Vocabulary

• released – made public – copies to the government, the Pike River families and the media
• evidence – details of what happened
• recommendations – strong suggestions for change
• methane – CH4
• “watch” – she was responsible for the Department of Labour
• role – their job
• agency – an organisation

Note: Many people celebrate Guy Fawkes tonight. To find out about this, check the archives for Nov 5th 2009, 2010 and 2011.






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