WorkSafe New Zealand has undertaken an internal review of two Improvement Notices placed on Solid Energy requiring work on sealing the mine to be completed by the end of November and February next year respectively and the application for a stay on those notices.

WorkSafe has advised the lawyer for three of the Pike River families who made the applications that the Improvement Notices will stand and that there will be no stay on them.

Deputy General Manager Jo-Ann Pugh says the Improvement Notices were properly issued.

“Having determined that the Improvement Notices requiring the Type C seal to be completed by 30 November and final sealing by 28 February 2017 were properly issued, it then follows that there should be no stay on them,” she said.

“The applicants argued that they were concerned at the decision to seal the mine pursuant to the Improvement Notices. However, the decision to seal the mine was made by Solid Energy, not WorkSafe and the notices required Solid Energy to implement their decision.

“Once Solid Energy decided in November 2014 not to re-enter the mine, it then had legal obligations to make the mine safe for eventual abandonment. Legislative and regulatory provisions required Solid Energy to replace the previous temporary seal with a Type C seal and then to construct a final abandonment seal to meet its obligations to make the mine safe.

“It is entirely Solid Energy’s legal responsibility to ensure that this work is undertaken safely and without delay,” Jo-Ann Pugh said.

As lawyers for the applicants have indicated that they are likely to appeal these decisions to the District Court, WorkSafe will make no further comment.

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