As part of the detailed inquiry into the Pike River explosion that killed 29 miners in New Zealand the royal commission will also study the safety systems in place at the mine. The preliminary hearing of the inquiry into the disaster will open on April 5th, 2011 in Greymouth.
The royal commission said that it was to hold 15 weeks of hearings that would begin on May 6th and end on November 4th. These would be divided into four phases namely context, search and rescue, what happened at Pike River and policy aspects. Each phase would look into specific details.
A spokesperson for the families of those who passed away in the mine explosion, Bernie Monk, said that 15 weeks was too short a time frame to examine and conclude the inquiry. He felt that many key issues would need to be examined and this would not be enough time. He added that he did not want any shot cuts taken for the sake of saving time.
Nicholas Davidson QC who represents some of the dead miners’ families said that he did not want to comment on the inquiry setup. He said that the commission had clearly given a lot of thought to how it is to proceed. They had logic in what they were proposing to do.
The inquiry hopes to shed light on exactly what happened at the mine. They also hope to identify how to prevent mining tragedies of a similar nature from occurring again. The bodies of the miners who died in the blast have not been recovered as yet.