Friday, May 3, 2019


'Hi ho hi ho its off to work we go'
Finally an actual delivery for the CoL
Snow White, Andrew Little, Winston Raymond Peters, Bernard 'Bernie' Monk all sitting on the verandah of their little cabin deep in the Paparoa Mountains waiting for NZ Couriors to drive up and then they would  have at least one delivery in this year so named, for a sycophantic media awaiting something for whatever

After spending an awesome pile of taxpayer dollars, some spent on office space  to become the very best office set up in normally sombre and somewhat  drab CBD of Greymouth, a formal photo op with Snow White and a bunch of virtue signallers resplendent in a cloaks of hypocrisy who were about to stand up for  the two leading  charlatans to enter the "Drift" of Pike River Mine.  Peters and the now ex Union rep for the dead miners who insisted the mine was safe, Angry Andy and comically now the relevant Minister for recovery of Pike miners. Except they both had better things to do.
No thse two  were not going to enter the workings, the actual Mine bit where some remains might be discernible in what some predict will be a reasonable replication of a crematorium fire box along with a one in a million chance some remnant evidence as to what might have caused armageddon nine years ago for the Pike 29 might be found.
No this "delivery" to be performed by minions of a lesser value,  to be entering the Portal some two Kilometers short of Spaghetti Junction beyond where the Miners most likely all died in the massive explosion on November 19  2010.
After breaking the seal,  the re-entry team were to travel uphill along the access tunnel to where Russell Smith and Daniel Rockhouse were flattened by the first of four explosions but recovered to walk out of the mine that fateful Friday, then onto what is said to be a rockfall blocking further progress before "spaghetti junction" where the beginnings of the actual coal recovery tunnels can be reached. That might be where miners who miraculously survived the initial blast might have made it to before the Methane will have done for them. That is all speculative as where the explosion originated is critical. Mining has miraculous tales of survival where miners endure the quickly lessening effects of the explosive forces due to compression resisting that  force in closed galleys.
However, those survival stories only happened because other access was available, something the Pike design ensured was never going to be.
Yes people that is what a rumoured 35 million dollars delivers for now, a walk up a tunnel Weta Workshops could have created with money left over.

Underground Coal mining is always accompanied by higher than normal workplace risk, more so in NZ where Methane escaping from the coal being worked is ever present often  in higher concentrations than other coal mines across the globe.
Brunner the worst NZ mine disaster at 65 dead 120 odd years ago, Huntly 43 dead over a century ago,  Kaitangata 34 dead a century and a half ago and Strongman in 1967  19 dead and Huntly again in 1939 killed 11. Total 172 dead miners,  The earthquake a year after Pike River,  killed more in Christchurch in an afternoon.

Methane is not always dangerous as it needs to be at a critical mix with air (oxygen) to become explosive, normally accepted to be between 5% and 15% methane, leaving management of atmospheric Methane in underground workings possible,  using extraction, ventilation and monitoring in a functioning operation.
Anecdotal legend has  that all often ignored at Pike  leaving the probability of the disaster a "not if but when" scenario. Covered Methane gas detectors, continued operation in levels deemed dangerous, and miners ignoring safety rules,  all alleged.  The Mine design was always high on any list of likely causes.
Setting up in a National Park with accompanying limitations and permissions required in modern times left those wishing to access some of the most valuable coal in the world and therefore an attractive opportunity,  balancing risk and reward.
An uphill 2k Drift access denied the natural draining of Methane, excluded as a natural control measure.
Only one  entrance and exit beginning two Kms from the coal face.
An Alpine Fault being traversed in that access.
One Ventilation shaft, too small, too long and too an access over the mining area claimed as an emergency exit.
Placing the extraction fan inside the mine preventing easy access for service and or repair along with increased danger from ignition, A solution  never known anywhere else. in mining.
Some of the portents to the eventual disaster.

There is a window of Opportunity in the wake of a coalmine explosion that gives hope and opportunity for brave souls to enter such a mine, when the Methane is either exhausted or too concentrated for explosive reaction, hence the existence of Mines Rescue teams associated with most  below ground mining operations.
Two problems with that at Pike November 2010  though,  the lesser problem had a time lapse that took some of that Window due to assembly and travel from mines kilometers away but far more effective as an obstruction to that action in response,  resulted  from chaos and confusion as to command structures.  A Police area commander with no knowledge of mining, a mine management woefully ill-prepared to react and the controller of Mines Rescue wasting much of the remainder of that precious window in arguing over who would take charge, Police commander prevailed and Mines rescue stood down.

Back to the latest "delivery", so somebody at the eleventh hour decided the risks were too high,  a postponement ensues. Somewhere down the line, will the Virtue signalling Politicians milking the tragedy again, finally  decide the price is too high, probably not, as such 'cut and run' is contrary to the ever present allure of a headline behind a paywall or three minutes on the idiot box at dinner time.
Someone spending their own money would become pragmatic much earlier.

Currently costs running at an estimated thirty million but who will know or care when low hanging fruit beacon. The "recovery" ongoing consumption of tax dollars continues.  The drivers from relatives and other Coasters see an attraction similar to that which motivated the pioneers  of Pike River Coal decades ago. They saw twenty million tonnes a year for twenty years of some of the very best coking coal in the world, not sure what Bernie's followers have for their ongoing journey of extended grief unless it is the now very unlikely slow death by strangulation for Gordon Ward,  Peter Whithall and perhaps some of the directors swinging from gibbets along the road to Pike, perhaps where the helmets and overalls of the now dead 29 workers are set out in an emotive tribute

I get quite dismayed at how the ongoing travails of Westland Mayor Bruce Smith and his delivery team from a base of Ratepayers, one of the smallest in the nation, administering a vast land area that is a vital link in the Tourist Mining activity,  recently in the news as the Bridge over the Waihou  River in the south of Westland district got smashed.
What they might achieve for all West Coasters with such dosh. For starters Bruce does not need a Head Quarters the envy of any who visit his neighbour to the North, Tony Kokshoorn, Mayor in Greymouth , no not Tony's office,   the Mine rescue and recovery political football ediface.

to be continued.


Paulus said...

The real reason for the postponement of the entry is that Winston has not been to his tailor to get his double breasted mining suit measured yet and a new toupee made so the soot does not discolour his pate.

gravedodger said...

The world waiting for Peters, now where have I heard that before.

Surprised nobody thought of getting Weta to deal with the whole shebang, after all the Moon landings were done in the Arizona desert weren't they

gravedodger said...

Did you catch the unverified claim but likely believable, less than half the families of the 29 desire the tomb to be entered.
!3 families in the dwindling entourage of the virtue signallers that means 16 might be offended.
Get back to your "Oxford" english or do you have little desire for that journey presently.

Johno said...

Angry Andy preparing to fail:

I can see why princess chompers has hussled out a wedding announcement. Up coming diversion required.

Johno said...

Angry Andy is definitely Grumpy and Winston is clearly Sleepy. If Kelvin showed up he'd be Dopey. Your picks for Doc, Happy, Bashful and Sneezy?

Frank said...

Winston has been a long time guest of Bernies at his Paroa Pub - Kumara Races etc.
I like Bruce Smith but unfortunately think he is far too cozy with Shane Jones and NZ First - there is some money to be got from them granted, but is too much of a shill for my liking.