New Zealand Royal Commission to investigate Pike River disaster

13:41, November 29, 2010      

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The New Zealand cabinet on Monday agreed to establish a Royal Commission on the Pike River mine tragedy in New Zealand South Island's West Bank.

Twenty-nine workers were killed following explosions at the West Coast mine near Greymouth which began on Nov. 19.

The commission of inquiry will be chaired by Justice Graham Panckhurst. Two other commissioners with relevant expertise in mining and safety regulation will be appointed.

Prime Minister John Key told the post-cabinet press conference that Royal Commissions are reserved for matters of very significant public interest and the Pike River Coal mine tragedy is one of those.

The terms of reference include investigating the causes of both the first and second explosions in the mine and the cause of the loss of life of the men working in the mine.

It will also look at the general law, systems, and practices and procedures that govern health and safety in underground coal mining.

Key said the circumstances of the deaths of the 29 men must be understood so that the tragedy was not repeated.

A national memorial service for the dead men would be held in Greymouth this Thursday.

Source: Xinhua


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