Media Release

Solid Energy commits to support improvements in safety regime

6 November 2012

The release of the Royal Commission's report into the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy is an important milestone for the families, friends and colleagues of the men who died on 19 November 2010 and for everyone who works in the mining industry, says Chief Executive Officer Dr Don Elder.

"We hope that the report can go a long way to bringing clarity and closure for the many people who have been deeply affected by this tragedy."

Dr Elder says Solid Energy supports the Royal Commission's recommendations which are generally consistent with the company's recommendations in its own submissions to the Commission.

"The Royal Commission's recommendations will put in place standards and expectations for mining and workplace safety that Solid Energy has already targeted for itself and made major progress towards over the last three years, but we are always aiming for continuous improvement. Underground mining has a future in New Zealand but "safety first" is not negotiable, and technical and economic challenges remain significant.

"Despite its public claims at the time, it is sadly apparent to everyone now that Pike River Coal Ltd was never representative of the industry's approach to health and safety. The recommendations, if implemented appropriately and effectively, will greatly improve confidence in the regulatory framework which can only be good for everyone who works in the industry. Solid Energy commits to participate constructively and openly in the process to implement the Royal Commission's recommendations."

Solid Energy bought the assets of Pike River Coal Limited (in receivership) in mid-2012. There is extensive work to do over a number of years before it will know whether there is a credible option for safe, economically viable mining in the coalfield.