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NZ Labour Dept lays health and safety charges over fatal Pike River mine explosions

Thursday 10th November 2011

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The Department of Labour has laid 25 charges against three unnamed parties relating to health and safety failures resulting in the explosions at the Pike River coal mine last year that killed 29 miners.

The charges were laid in the Greymouth District Court today, and each carries a maximum penalty of $250,000, the department said in a statement. The parties haven’t been named due to existing name suppression orders or having the right to apply for suppression. For the same reason, the details of the charges remain secret.

“The department recognises there is high public interest in who has been charged and is taking urgent steps to ensure that where possible, names of the parties charged can be published,” the department said.

Mining at the site stopped after the explosions last year, leading to Pike River Coal being placed into receivership and the appointment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the disaster.

The department’s investigation took 357 days to complete, with more than 200 interviews conducted by a team that peaked at 15.

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