Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

T. Watts, Challenges encountered by New Zealand mines rescue at the Pike River mine disaster, 12th Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2012, 345-350.


The loss of 29 lives in the Pike River Mine Disaster of 19th November 2010 will be forever remembered as one of the darkest days in the history of coalmining in New Zealand. The effects of this tragic event have also been felt by the mining industry in Australia. As an industry we are constantly aware of terms such as “Emergency Preparedness” and “Emergency Response Management Plans” and in fact, numerous seminars and forums are facilitated to study these topics in detail. This begs the question, “how well is your organisation really prepared if it was faced with a major disaster such as that which occurred at Pike River”? The incident management team, mine manager, mines rescue and other emergency organisations responding to the Pike River mine explosion faced significant challenges on planning a re-entry into the mine by rescue teams.