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Spring Creek Mine operations about to restart

Tuesday 3rd May 2011

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State-owned Solid Energy is to restart mining at its underground Spring Creek Mine on the West Coast, after it suspended operations five months ago after two coal face heatings were followed by the Pike River disaster.

Twenty-nine men died at the privately-owned Pike River mine on the West Coast after a November 19 explosion.

In a report on its March quarter activities published yesterday, Solid Energy said there had been minimal production at Spring Creek since last November, when operations were suspended following two heatings and the Pike River disaster.

Radio New Zealand today reported production was about to restart after changes prompted by the Pike River explosions.

In the three weeks before Pike River exploded, Spring Creek was twice evacuated because of signs coal faces could catch fire.

Solid Energy had said in a statement that in early December, following the Pike River explosion, management at Spring Creek decided to undertake a full safety review.

Supported by outside experts, the review identified some improvements which had now been implemented.

It had lost at least $30 million in production and had spent millions more on the upgrade.

Last week there was a fire on a loader near the Spring Creek mine opening, and all emergency procedures worked well, Solid Energy had said.



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