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NZ mining company closes Huntly East mine after methane build-up

25 June 2012

On June 21, the newly beefed-up New Zealand mines inspectorate issued a Prohibition Notice to stop mining at Solid Energy's Huntly East underground coal mine after identifying a methane build-up in a recently mined area. The go-ahead to resume operations was given on June 25

The Huntly East mine on New Zealand's North Island was closed for four days
The Huntly East mine on New Zealand's North Island was closed for four days

The notice, issued by the Department of Labour's High Hazards Unit, kept mining operations suspended until the state-owned coal company has provided information on how it is managing underground methane. 

"The company remains confident that its mines are operating safely," said Solid Energy Chief Operating Officer Barry Bragg. "We will provide the required information to the department today and will meet the inspectors again tomorrow. We are aware of no reason why the prohibition notice should not be lifted as soon as we have provided the information the department is seeking and expect to resume full mining activities shortly afterwards.”

Explosions caused by methane build-ups in the privately owned Pike River underground coal mine in November 2010 took 29 lives and led to increased resources and focus on underground coal mining safety management in New Zealand. This mine has since been taken over by Sold Energy.

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