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Pike River Mine had ventilation issues, according to expert

09 February 2012

Leading Australian mine safety consultant David Reece, who led an official investigation into the November 2010 explosion at the New Zealand mine where 29 were killed, said at the Royal Commission Inquiry into the cause of the blast that there were serious problems with the mine's ventilation system.

The  Pike River Mine blast killed the 29 miners
The Pike River Mine blast killed the 29 miners

Reece said that mining should have been cut back until gas levels had been brought under control.

He has also raised concerns about methane gas detectors within the mine saying several were in poor condition and unable to properly detect gas levels. 

He told the inquiry that the investigation found the most likely cause was an accumulation of methane gas being released by a sudden roof collapse.

Australian mine expert David Reece
Australian mine expert David Reece

This collapse would have released methane gas, which ignited when water pumps in the mine were turned on in the control room above ground.

Reece told the Royal Commission there are still many other contributing factors that cannot be ruled out, including whether the electrical plant may have caused sparks deep in the mine, triggering the explosion.

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