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Pike River Mine Inquest Raises Questions on Mine Design

The 29 miners who died in the explosion at the Pike River Coal mine in New Zealand have brought forth a number of issues. An inquest was conducted to give families of the miners death certificates and the coroner has concluded that there was probably no hope of rescuing the miners at all.

According to events families still had hopes of the miners being rescued after the first blast but these were wiped out after the second lot of explosions in the mine on 24 November 2010. However the coroner said that as per statements from medical and mining experts it would have been unlikely for the miners to survive the first blast on 19 November 2010.

Many of them would have died with the blast or shortly after due to burn or suffocation due to the lack of proper oxygen supply in the air. They would also have had toxic gases making it difficult for them to breathe. Rescue operations were called off by the police this month and toxic gases make it difficult for the bodies to be recovered.

What the families want to know is why there was only one serviceable entry into the mine. The minimum of two entries into a mining area reduce the high risk during emergencies. The miners in the Pike River mine simply had no exit left when the one serviceable one caved in due to the explosions. The Royal Commission will now investigate the cause of the explosion and provide a report.

Joel Scanlon

Written by

Joel Scanlon

Joel emigrated to Australia in 1995 and worked for five years in the mining industry as an exploration geotechnician, using GIS mapping and CAD software. Upon moving to the North Coast of NSW, Australia Joel worked as a graphic designer for a leading consultancy firm. After that, he ran a successful business providing web services to businesses along the eastern seaboard of Australia. During this time, he developed and launched News-Medical.Net. Joel has been working with AZoNetwork since the company was founded in 2000.

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