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Royal Commission Into Pike River Tragedy - Update

Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy

NEWS UPDATE

~ November 7, 2011 ~ Six weeks of hearings about to start

The Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy will resume hearings next Monday (14 November), with nine witnesses to be called during November.

The Commission is holding six weeks of hearings during November, December and February to examine matters raised in the Phase Three List of Issues entitled "What happened at Pike River?". [http://pikeriver.royalcommission.govt.nz/List-of-Issues]]

The cause of the explosions, the management and functions of Pike 's health and safety system, the adequacy of the underground mine systems and the oversight of the mine by the mine inspectors will all be examined during these hearings.

Witness list for November hearings

An expert on hydro mining from Japan and witnesses from the Department of Labour are amongst those to appear during the November hearings as the Commission focusses on the performance of mines' inspectors and on the hydro mining systems at the mine .

Monday 14 November –  Friday 18 November

Opening Statement

Simon Mount, Counsel Assisting the Commission

External oversight of health and safety at the mine

Michael Firmin, Health and Safety Inspector, Department of Labour Kevin Poynter,  Former Health and Safety Inspector, Department of Labour Alan Cooper,  Practice Leader, Health and Safety Practice Development, Department of Labour Kathleen Callaghan, Director, Human Factors Group, The University of Auckland David Stewart, Chairperson, Mines Rescue Trust

Monday 21 November – Friday 25 November

Mine systems (the hydro mining process and related systems)

Craig Smith, General Manager, Underground Mines, Solid Energy Masaoki Nishioka, Former Hydro Mining Operator, Pike River Coal Ltd Stephen Wylie, Former Deputy, Pike River Coal Ltd George Mason, Former Hydro Mining Co-ordinator, Pike River Coal Ltd

December/February hearings plans

Further witness lists will be released for the hearings scheduled for Monday 5 December to Friday 16 December 2011 and Tuesday 7 February to Friday 17 February 2012. These will be available from the Commission's website.

In December the hearings will examine Pike's health and safety systems and the safety culture at the mine in relation to management, miners and contractors.

During the February hearings the Commission will look at the cause of the explosions and further consider mine systems focussing on those elements that contributed to the initial explosion.

Pike River Coal tragedy anniversary

As the Commission prepares to return to Greymouth it is very mindful of other preparations going on in the community for the anniversary of the tragedy on 19 November.

The Commission appreciates  that its work and media reporting means many people continue to re-live aspects of the tragedy.

During the hearings the Commission will continue to do everything it can to protect the privacy and interests of family members. However it is essential for the Inquiry to proceed so that the cause of the tragedy is found and to  enable well tested recommendations for the future to be made.

~ Key Dates ~

Hearing dates

Monday 14 November - Friday 25 November 2011

Monday 5 December - Friday 16 December 2011

(19, 20,21,December available if needed)

Tuesday 7 February - Friday 17 February 2012

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