Govt to implement all Pike River recommendations

MICHELLE COOKE
Last updated 15:37 12/12/2012

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All mining in New Zealand will be covered by a new regulatory framework, not just underground coal mining as recommended in the aftermath of the Pike River tragedy.

The Government released its plan today for implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Pike River Coal mine, where a number of explosions occurred two years ago killing 29 men.  

The commission issued its report last month, which was highly critical of the company's directors and executive managers.

The report said Pike River management paid insufficient attention to health and safety "and exposed the company's workers to unacceptable risk" in its drive to produce coal.

It also recommended sweeping changes after finding failures by the Department of Labour.

The commission made 16 primary recommendations, including the need to urgently establish a regulatory framework for underground coal mining.

"The new regulatory framework will cover all mining in New Zealand - not just underground mining as recommended by the Royal Commission," acting Labour Minister Christopher Finlayson said today.

Other recommendations covered areas such as worker participation in mining health and safety management, management training and emergency management planning.

An expert group on mining safety and regulation would provide advice and independent scrutiny to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in developing the regulatory framework.

The panel would include mining consultants, experts and Queensland's Chief Inspector of Coal Mines.

A decision on the new independent regulator would be made early next year.

The Government hoped to have implemented all recommendations by the end of next year. 

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