Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Royal Commission Report into the Pike River Mine Tragedy

Media Release

5 November 2012

Release of Royal Commission Report into the Pike River Mine Tragedy

This media release is issued by Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, lawyers for John Dow, Ray Meyer and Stuart Nattrass, who were among the directors, and Peter Whittall, who was the CEO, of Pike River Coal Limited (now in receivership) at the time of the tragic explosions in November 2010.

Our clients have genuine and heartfelt sympathy for the families and friends of the men lost in the Pike River Mine. Several of our clients worked regularly at the mine at one time or another and knew a number of those men. They feel their loss very personally.

From the outset, our clients willingly participated in and assisted the Royal Commission with its inquiry, as did other staff with key management roles including Neville Rockhouse, Safety and Training Manager, and Doug White, Mine Manager. Their willingness to participate was in contrast to certain other individuals with senior management roles in the Company, including Gordon Ward, the CEO until seven weeks before the first explosion, who chose not to participate or assist.

After the Company was placed into receivership, it did not have the resources to participate in the Commission’s inquiry. Our clients then voluntarily assumed the task of collating and producing many thousands of pages of documents and detailed witness statements to assist the Commission. In addition to producing written statements, several of them were also asked to appear and give oral evidence in the Commission’s hearings, which they did.

Our clients participated in the inquiry knowing that this was likely to result in their own actions being subject to greater scrutiny than would have been the case had they not become involved. They did so because they believed that they had a moral obligation to provide what information they could to assist the Commission, in the hope that in doing so, they might help identify ways in which, if the Government is to pursue its policies of facilitating the further development of New Zealand’s mineral resources, future mining tragedies could be prevented.

Our clients have this afternoon, for the first time, been provided with a copy of the Commission’s report, some time after it was released to the media. It is more than 400 pages in length and they have not yet had an opportunity to consider it in detail.

Our clients acknowledge the Royal Commission’s findings that:

• The cause of the explosion and the loss of the 29 men remains unknown. There are a number of possible explanations of the source of the methane gas and the ignition that the Commission believes caused the explosions.

• The Company set out to create a safe, world-class coal mine. There was no intention on the part of any of our clients for the mine to be developed or operated in an unsafe manner.

• Pike River received advice from scores of experienced local and international consultants and experts at various stages of mine development across a range of disciplines, including geotechnical engineering, ventilation, strata control, electrical safety and methane management.

• Pike River also recruited well-qualified managers, many from overseas, including Doug White, the mine manager, who was a former Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines in Australia.

• The Company recognised the need for good training programmes and that miners received comprehensive induction training.

• The Department of Labour’s inspectors were involved in overseeing the mine’s development and operation. The Department of Labour did not have the necessary focus, capability or strategies. The Commission recommends the establishment of a new regulator with a focus on health and safety. Many changes to mining regulations are required.

• The Commission’s report recognises that everyone did their best in the harrowing circumstances following the explosions to assist the families and emergency agencies in every way they could. Our clients are grateful to the many agencies and experts that assisted with the emergency response and they were as disappointed as everyone else involved in the response to hear evidence and criticism of its shortcomings during the Commission.

Our clients will consider in more detail a number of findings, both in relation to themselves and more generally, that they do not agree with and which they do not consider justified on the evidence presented to the Commission.

In particular, Messrs Dow, Meyer and Nattrass note the following:

• They disagree with any suggestions that the board did not act appropriately with regard to management of health and safety at the mine.

• They note that there has been much comment with the convenient benefit of hindsight about matters, such as the location of the main fan underground, that were known to the Department of Labour mine inspectors, the union and many others but did not attract adverse comment in relation to safety at the time.

They may wish to respond to those findings in more detail later.

As they reflect on the tragic loss of life at the Pike River Mine, as they have done every day since the explosions, our clients reiterate their condolences to the families.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

  • Second Readings To Continue
  • House Rises Interrupting RNZ Bill
  • Standards Bill Progresses
  • Controversy Over Non-Controversial Bill
  • Questions and Answers – May 19
  • Parliament Today 19-05-15
  • Environmental Reporting Bill Progresses
  • Access Week in Parliament 19-05-15

  • TPPA: University Of Auckland Warns Of Negative TPP Impact

    The University of Auckland May 20, 2015 University of Auckland Warns of Negative TPP Impact With the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation drawing to a close, the University of Auckland has expressed serious concerns about its potential implications. ... More>>

    NZ Flag: Flag Referendum Gets Hit Hard In New Poll

    The latest Campbell Live text poll confirms it is time for the Prime Minister to listen to the public and shelve his flag referendum, says the New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: The Government’s Belated Moves On Property Speculation

    Is it a property tax on capital gains or a capital gains tax on property? The Jesuitical distinctions in the government’s spin about its latest moves on property speculators are all about whether the government can claim that it jumped, or confess that it ... More>>

    Grant Robertson:
    Key Can’t Just Be Prime Minister For Parnell

    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In a ... More>>

    Labour Party: More Regional Jobs Go In Corrections Reshape

    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka ... More>>

    ALSO:

  • NZ First - Prison Job Losses to Send Money Offshore
  • TPPA: ‘Team Obama’ Regroups On Fast Track, Still Not Deliverable

    ‘After yesterday’s stinging and unexpected defeat for the Obama administration’s attempt to advance Fast Track legislation in the US Senate, Senate leaders have worked up a compromise they think will get them past this blockage’, according to Auckland ... More>>

    NZ Government: 5,500 More Doctors And Nurses In Our Hospitals

    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a record number of doctors and nurses are working in District Health Boards across the country. More>>

    Controller and Auditor General: Katherine Rich Conflict of Interest Decision

    We are writing to you about a matter that has been raised with us by members of the public. More>>

    ALSO:


    Budget 2015: Andrew Little On The 2015 Budget

    Speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, the Labour opposition leader attacked the government’s approach to economic issues facing New Zealand. He said they have been “more than reckless in their complacency” and “the next week’s budget will do nothing ... More>>

    Defence Force: NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel In Iraq

    NZDF Building Partner Capacity Mission Personnel in Iraq The New Zealand Defence Force Building Partner Capacity training mission contingent is in place at Taji Military Complex in Iraq. The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating says the ... More>>

    PM Press Conference: ACC Levy Cuts Announced

    In a press conference this afternoon in Wellington, ACC Minister Nikki Kaye proposed $500 million worth of ACC levy cuts. More>>

    Quakes: New Process For Red Zone Crown Offers

    Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced a process to give everyone a say on the Crown offers to owners of vacant, commercial/industrial and uninsured properties in the Residential Red Zone. More>>

    ALSO:

    Gordon Campbell: On The Battle Obama Is Waging Over The TPP

    For the past two and a half years, this column has been arguing that the fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal will hinge on whether US President Barack Obama can win Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) from Congress... Last week, the White House finally, finally unveiled a draft TPA Bill. More>>

    ALSO:


    Gordon Campbell: On lessons for Labour from the UK election
    If the polls were right – and the pollsters kept telling us how accurate they’d been in 2010, and even Nate Silver was getting the same results – there seemed no way that the British Labour Party could lose last Thursday’s British election. With Labour predicted to win around 270 seats and the Scottish National Party batting around 55-60 seats, Labour seemed to be home free. But…as we now know, things didn’t turn out that way. Labour ended up with 232 seats and the Conservatives swept back to power with an outright majority, after winning only a little more than a third ( 36.9%) of the votes cast.MORE >>
    Also.

  • NZ PM John Key - PM congratulates David Cameron after UK election
  • The Nation IV Transcript - Hack Attack author Nick Davies
  • Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news