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Pike River says tunneling delayed by two weeks

Monday 30th June 2008

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Pike River Coal, the coal miner whose stock has more than doubled in the past year, will delay tunneling by two weeks. The move won't delay production targets, it said.

Tunneling the remaining 215 meters to the Brunner coal seam will resume on July 10, the company said in a statement. The next section includes cutting through the Hawera fault.

Following further risk assessments and discussions with the Department of Labour the company says it is more likely to use its roadheader unit to complete the remaining tunnel, rather than its faster jumbo machine.

The jumbo machine can't be used where there's a likelihood of methane so "daily advance rates through the coal seam will be slightly reduced," the company said.

Pike River shares rose 3% to NZ$2.40 and earlier reached a record NZ$2.50.

By Jonathan Underhill

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