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Mine Exploration Forum

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Author Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Phil Ford

Joined: 01/05/2008
Location: Caernarfon

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 09:55:57
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Why the Police are stopping the rescue from going ahead is beyond belief. In this country the rescue teams would go in and make the place safe not be held back by the police, we have a top rate Mines Inspectorate here who take over control of any pit where there has been an explosion like this, not the police. IP: 213.122.146.164
ChrisJC

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Joined: 13/10/2007
Location: Northants

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 10:05:32
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Given that you are speculating in the total absence of facts, do you accept that the pit might still have pockets of methane?

Therefore might it be wise not to go in and accidently cause more explosions until the situation is fully understood?

Or would you 'just send in the lads' and hope that they don't come out in a coffin?

Chris.
IP: 86.139.164.155
miner1985

Joined: 17/11/2007
Location: South Wales

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 10:20:11
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I think what Phil is saying is that the mines rescue would make the call and not the police (over here). Phil has years of experience in coal mining so is speaking from experience. IP: 109.153.146.34
gt5952

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Joined: 08/07/2010
Location: Swansea

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 10:30:18
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No matter what the incident, there are always armchair speculators who would do this or that differently, or would jump in with their speleo technics lamp and a bucket of water... There are however people who have worked or work in this field.

But its just not in human nature to sit back and do nothing.

Every time there has been an incident in Germany, there has been an instant response, and I should expect the same in the UK.

Its not so much about rushing in, clearly the situation is either very unique and perhaps there are things not reported going on. In such a HS world, I cant believe the situation is as simple as waiting for results, etc, there must be more.

I dont know about the UK, or NZ, but in Germany, the Mines Rescue Coordinator takes over command of the mine on arrival from the Mines Duty Catastrophy manager. Katastrophenschutz (All emergency groups incl Police etc) take a back seat and make tea and provide comfort in the rear, as well as setting up a base for triage etc.

But thats a different country, with different systems, Interesting that outside people are being called in...

--

'FOR SALE: 1 Kidney and Half a Lung. If the Traffic Warden comes back to my car again, I can get more bits... I once pretended to be a Capo of a German Mafia family, and strung several people along for 6 months, getting them to do menial tasks like stealing gnomes and the such. I even got two of them to wait outside a bank as 'getaway drivers' for 3 hours, before phoning them to say they were outside the wrong bank.... and the Don wasnt happy... I think they emigrated then...
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sbt

Joined: 30/11/2008

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 10:38:59
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derrickman wrote:

I'd suggest at this point, that anyone with no professional experience and/or actual information of the situation there, keep their speculation and opinions to themselves....


I sort-of-agree (if they don't post then wrong ideas can't be
challenged). I'll also add that care should be taken about commenting
on Bomb Disposal Experts, Lifeboatmen and the like.

The EOD operators are very carefully psychologically tested as part of
their selection. One of the things looked for is a sensible attitude to
risk vs gain. They only go in person if they need to, either because of
potential loss of life (there was a case in Iraq of a bomb outside a
hospital full of patients that couldn't be evacuated) or for other
reasons such as the need for evidence collection. Prior to the
introduction of this policy in the 1970s the casualty rate was getting
silly.

'Charging the enemies Machine Guns' is not an approved way for a
soldier to behave. Finding another way, if possible, that avoids
casualties as far as possible is the right thing to do. If our soldiers
didn't say 'that’s a bit dangerous' and reserve doing dangerous things
only for when its necessary then our casualty rate would be far worse
than it is - which would hand a victory to the bad guys, whose whole
objective is to cause casualties...

The Lifeboat world received a very big wakeup call from the US
Coastguard a couple of decades ago. Like many services the USCG
Lifeboatmen used to live to the motto 'Never Turn Back'. Until an
entire crew was lost in atrocious conditions attempting to recover two
people that they knew were already dead. Now 'Dynamic Risk Assessment'
is taught. - Is the risk worth the benefit? Is there another way that’s
nearly as good but entails significantly less risk to the rescuers?

We have a duty to those who are willing to lay down their lives for
others and that is not to make them do so unnecessarily - even if that
is against their own wishes.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my distant colleague William
Blanchard, a member of the Territorial Army serving in Afghanistan, who
was shot whilst preparing to destroy a bomb on the 30th of October 2010.

[web link]
IP: 80.229.232.148
toadstone

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Joined: 10/09/2007
Location: Father's Dwelling, Big Low

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 11:17:15
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These two links might help explain what is actually there and also the size of the operation at Pike River.
The first is to Pike River Coal's own web site and shows the tunnel, the existing seam they are mining and the proposed one. It also shows the ventilation shaft and the Hawera Fault.
[web link] It doesn't show the mine workings it is just schematic.

The second link is to a news archive site that reported on the original transit of the Hawera Fault back in 2008 and the precautions taken to do so. [web link]

IP: 86.160.186.60
Aditaddict

Joined: 27/08/2010

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 17:22:24
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ChrisJC wrote:

Given that you are speculating in the total absence of facts, do you accept that the pit might still have pockets of methane?

Therefore might it be wise not to go in and accidently cause more explosions until the situation is fully understood?

Or would you 'just send in the lads' and hope that they don't come out in a coffin?

Chris.


If you go in to a burning building you accept that there vare pockets of fire but they still go in
IP: 81.109.233.7
Aditaddict

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 21/11/2010 17:28:35
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yet again i totally agree
there is a special bond between miners and i think anybody who goes underground for what ever reason we all take risks going underground i think the point is that if that was me
i would pray that someone would come as quickly as possable and at least try to get me !
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derrickman

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Joined: 18/02/2009

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 22/11/2010 04:57:56
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risk vs benefit is very much the issue. I was involved in a fire in a tunnel back in the late 80s, we actually put more men in than the fire brigade to stop the fire brigade blokes hurting themselves in the unfamiliar, smoke-filled environment.

This was around the time of the Piper Alpha disaster, which was all handled by industry professionals ( because no-one else was capable of becoming involved ) and cause deep enquiries in the industry in subsequent years.

people outside the UK coal industry tend to be a bit anti, and there are various reasons for this as discussed on another thread, but it has to be said that the Chinese coal industry has a casualty rate comparable to a medium-size war whilst the UK industry measured casualties in ones and twos.

That doesn't happen by accident.
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Knocker

Joined: 17/06/2008

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 22/11/2010 08:38:22
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Underground safe havens which provide a safe habitat in which to live are a bit of a new thing (Boulby didn't have them in 1999). The idea is the provide an environment in which a group of men can survive for several days to enable the mine to be made safe before rescuers are commited, as such the men if they have made it to the safe haven will be expecting a wait. IP: 90.221.39.33
SimonRL

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Joined: 27/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 23/11/2010 09:16:51
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Latest apparently is they're sending a second robot in after the first one broke down.

24 hours ago the BBC news article said the test shaft was within 20m, and this morning an updated article is saying the same thing.

--

indicative of the type of individual found at the periphery of a fringe activity
IP: 95.148.14.12
toadstone

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Location: Father's Dwelling, Big Low

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 23/11/2010 09:23:34
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That's still the case Simon as far as I can tell from NZ TV but they have released CCTV footage of the blast from the mine entrance. [web link]

The same Channel also has schematics as to where they think the men are located and aerial footage of the drilling rig.

Edit: Australia is sending another robot to the mine. This will make 3. The Australian one by all accounts is designed to cope with conditions within the mine, is bigger and does not rely on an umbilical, although I wonder how the last point is an advantage when it comes to controlling the robot underground.
Ah further update: the umbilical is apparently a fibre optic cable.
IP: 86.133.159.89 Edited: 23/11/2010 13:29:12 by toadstone
SimonRL

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 23/11/2010 22:22:25
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Latest from the Beeb. Sadly not looking very encouraging.

BBC News wrote:

Rescuers trying to reach 29 men trapped in a New Zealand coal mine say a bore hole has shown high gas levels and little oxygen near where the men are believed to be.

Police Supt Gary Knowles, co-ordinating the rescue effort, said it was still not safe to send in rescue teams.


[web link]

--

indicative of the type of individual found at the periphery of a fringe activity
IP: 95.148.102.21
toadstone

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 23/11/2010 23:08:22
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Indeed, it is not looking good. Latest reports from NZ TV here [web link]
Nothing short of a miracle I fear.

If that wasn't enough there appears to be a difference of opinion amongst officialdom and the media.
[web link]
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Morlock

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 24/11/2010 04:23:26
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Bad news.

[web link]
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toadstone

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 24/11/2010 10:12:52
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It is very, very sad and my thoughts are with all of those involved.

In trying to understand the issues I came across this video where Peter Whittall explains various problems with reference to an underground map. [web link]
IP: 86.133.159.89
Aditaddict

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 24/11/2010 10:24:31
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A second explosion has now ended all hopes of a rescue thought to be bigger than the first they now say that there is no chance of anyone still being alive
and that even the bodies might not be recovered
sad times,
and our thoughts should be with the families !
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Knocker

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 24/11/2010 11:07:56
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Terrible news. In all honesty after seeing the footage of the initial blast at the portal it would have been a huge miracle for anyone other than the two that got out to escape.

After Chile, a lot people looked at this as being a relatively simple rescue, but the biggest issue here is the environment is not actually life sustaining and was a powder keg to boot.

Mining is a hugely hazardous occupation, coal especially so.
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Ty Gwyn

Joined: 30/10/2009
Location: Lampeter

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 24/11/2010 11:24:40
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I agree Knocker,there was little hope of survival after the first blast,the force that knocked out the ventilation fan said it all.

The build-up of gases would have rendered any survivors of the initial blast unconcious.

In-fact 3 wks previous the fans packed up,and it took 20hrs to clear the mine of methane.

My thoughts are with these families,thier pain will linger for years,its hard to comprehend your Father is never coming home again.
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Aditaddict

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Explosion in New Zealand coal mine
Posted: 24/11/2010 17:27:58
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According to a mining expert on the bbc today this coal seam releases 9 cubic meters of gas per ton mined
That sounds like a very dangerous seam to work
its no wonder most of their mines are open cast
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