Miners' memorial will rest in Coast lake

Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn.
Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn.

A memorial of three life-sized miners will rest in the middle of a Greymouth lake to honour the hundreds of men who have lost their lives in mining accidents on the West Coast.

It will be unveiled on November 19, the second anniversary of the Pike River disaster that claimed the lives of 29 men.

The three granite miners will be surrounded by a stylised, revolving mine portal in the middle of Lake Karoro and a 100m causeway will be built out to the tribute to enable visitors to pay their respects.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, who is also the chair of the memorial committee, said the tribute was originally going to be dedicated to the 29 Pike miners but last week the committee chose to memorialise all those who had lost their lives in mining disasters, from Karamea to Haast.

The decision was supported by Pike River families, he said.

Mining first started on the West Coast in 1864 and Kokshoorn listed a number of fatal disasters that had occurred over the years, such as the 1896 Brunner mine disaster which took the lives of 65 men and the 1967 Strongman mine disaster that killed 19.

On the lake shore there will be a plaque listing the names of hundreds of lost miners.

Kokshoorn said there would be "plenty of gaps on the monument for relatives to bring us to the attention of other deaths".

The location was chosen for its serenity and the backdrop of the Paparoa Ranges, where the Pike 29 are still entombed, he said.

Sunday News