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Union wants ex-Pike CEO to appear before Royal Commission

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Media Release

Union calls for ex-Pike CEO to appear before Royal Commission

The union representing West Coast miners says it is totally unacceptable that former Pike River Coal CEO is refusing to appear before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the disaster.

EPMU assistant national secretary, Ged O’Connell, says Gordon Ward played an integral role in the development and running of the mine and could provide crucial insights and evidence into the mine explosion.

“When you have Pike chairman John Dow making numerous references to the high degree of involvement of Gordon Ward at the mine it is inconceivable and totally unacceptable that he is not wanting to appear,” says O’Connell. “No only could Ward shed light on what happened, but his evidence could help prevent such another tragedy. If nothing else, he owes it to the memory of the men who died at Pike.”

Ward has refused to appear at the Commission and cannot be compelled to whilst overseas. His location is a mystery, but reports suggest he may be in Australia or Papua New Guinea . Until recently he was with the Queensland Coal Corporation.

“We need to remind Mr Ward that corporate responsibility is an issue with this disaster. He led the company right up to a few weeks before the explosion. If the current legislation can’t compel him to appear before the Commission then the law should be changed,” says O’Connell.


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