Associate Energy Minister Paul Swain says he has received a preliminary briefing on the Waihi mine shaft collapse and is sending two Ministry of Economic Development offiicals to the scene to report back to him more fully.
“I am very pleased that no one was hurt and that the families affected are being cared for.
“Preliminary advice is that the subsidence is a result of the collapse of an old shaft (the old Royal Vein underground workings which started early last century) and was never backfilled.
“This isn’t the first such subsidence from old underground workings in Waihi.
“The Mayor of the Hauraki District Council and his team are doing a great job. He tells me that an established contingency plan which includes securing the site and housing the families affected, has been implemented.
“I am also advised that the council has provided the families with a duty solicitor to work with the EQC on claims.
“The mayor tells me that the families are being allowed back into their homes under strict safety supervision to retrieve some of their possessions and the power will be restored by tonight for security reasons.
“Two MED officials will be onsite later today and will be working with local authorities – they will report back to me as soon as possible. I will be briefing my colleagues after I receive that report,” Paul Swain said.