Contractors confronted at Pike River
Contractors sealing the Pike River mine have been confronted by family members of the 29 men killed in the November 2010 disaster.
Bernie Monk, whose son Michael died in the mine, said the group was protesting to delay the mine being sealed
They want the Government and Solid Energy to agree to enter the drift – a 2.5-kilometre tunnel leading to the mine – and search for remains before the mine is permanently sealed.
Allied Concrete confirmed it would not work at Pike River because it did not want to inflame the "emotional trauma" being caused to families.
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Monk and a group of about 20 protesters blocked the mine's access road on Thursday morning.
A police officer attended as four contractors and Solid Energy vehicles arrived about 7am.
Monk asked the officer if he could speak to the contractors to ask them to down tools. The contractors refused to speak to Monk.
A path was cleared for the vehicles to pass through a line of protesters holding signs.
Solid Energy is sealing the mine with a 20-metre thick concrete wall to allow the area to be returned to the Department of Conservation for inclusion in the Paparoa National Park.
Environment Minister Nick Smith met families recently and told them a safe re-entry was not possible because of the risk of more explosions and rockfall.
Monk said international experts and Mines Rescue believed it was safe to enter the drift.
He, and other family members, had launched a legal challenge to a WorkSafe directive that the permanent seal had to be complete by February and a smaller seal by November.
"They are breaking the law by sealing a crime scene," he said.
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