The Watchdog

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Whistleblower claims it was ‘MURDER’ at Pike River Mine! Is that why the company doesn’t want to ‘fully participate in the inquiry’?

Whistleblower claims it was ‘MURDER’ at Pike River Mine! Is that why the company doesn’t want to ‘fully participate in the inquiry’?



7 April 2011

Was it ‘MURDER’ at Pike River Mine?

Is that why the company isn’t ‘facing up to it’s responsibilities’ and apparently trying to dodge fronting up to the Royal Commission of inquiry into the Pike River disaster, in a proper way ?

“Pike River Coal lawyer Stacey Shortall said the company could not afford to fully participate in the inquiry.

She said the company did not have the money to prepare the documents and witness statements the commission had requested and would have legal representation at only some hearings.”

‘Whistle-blowing’ author of “Murder at Pike River Mine”, Jacob Cohen, sent me hard copies of his work, with additional hard copy evidence to support his extremely disturbing claims.

Essentially, the allegation is that the Pike River mining disaster was deliberate, that the 29 miners were murdered, in order to help build support for open-cast mining, which can then be argued to be ‘safer’ than underground mining.

Here are some excerpts, which focus on Jacob Cohen’s  allegation of ‘safety negligence’ at Pike River Mine:


According to news reports, the giant methane explosion in the mine occurred around 3.15pm± 3.30pm on Friday,
19 November 2010. Quite simply, it was massive. The force of the explosion blew out of a 110 meter deep ventilation shaft and blackened the surrounding bush 60 meters away from the shaft portal.

It also blew over 2km down the main access tunnel and was recorded by a CCTV camera at the portal blasting outwards for 52 seconds, so remarkably, there must have been an enormous, undetected buildup of methane in the mine prior to the explosion, but no warnings or alarms for the miners ever sounded.

Clearly, there was no proper fixed methane gas detection monitoring system in the mine connected to alarms, or if there was the system was not working. It seems there also was no monitoring system to the office outside for 24 hour constant surveillance either.

All this is rather strange, since strategically located gas detectors are now a standard requirement in all Australian and US underground coal mines.

There are strict requirements to provide extensive gas monitoring, safety and health management systems in all Australian mines in which the CEO, Peter Whittall, has been trained and worked.

Why were there none working?

The first reports of an explosion were at 3.45pm and management was not even aware that there had been an explosion until around 4.10pm, nearly an hour after the estimated time of the explosion!

This is much more than extreme negligence.
Gas Detectors are also available for miners as well that are lightweight, shock and vibration resistant, simple to operate, self calibrating, will not ignite coal dust, provide instant gas analysis, and provide REMOTE PROTECTION UP TO 500 FEET AWAY!

These detectors are also invaluable in mine rescue operations.

Today there is simply ³no excuse´for any, properly run, safety conscious, coal mine company to have any explosion at all!

For example, there are strict requirements for alternative electricity supply, continuous gas monitoring of both portable and fixed methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen gas detectors in all underground coal mines in Queensland, Australia, and they are all clearly outlined in the Queensland Coal Mining Safety and Health Regulation 2001 (still in force as at 1st October 2010).

These regulations also specify precise locations of detectors and alarms,an underground mine manager who is designated to acknowledge alarms, and at least one person must be on the surface at all times monitoring the situation when at least one person is underground.

The regulations also provide precise safety requirements for the site senior executive to follow, including the monitoring of auxiliary or booster fans which are to be protected by methane detectors connected to audible and visible alarms that trip the electricity supply to the fans when the gas concentration exceeds 2%.


According to all news reports, the Pike River Mine explosion was discovered by a mine electrician, Russell Smith, who went into the mine to investigate a power outage, and was hit by the mine blast about 1km into the access tunnel. In the United States, it is well known byall executives in the coal mine industry that Federal Mining Regulations require that all personnel must begin evacuating a mine within 15 minutes of a fan stoppage.

Since the power stoppage had occurred long before the explosion, it may have caused the ventilation fans to stop, causing the methane gas levels to build up to dangerously explosive levels very quickly, thus causing the explosion.

Had the workers stopped and evacuated the mine immediately the power outage had occurred as they should have within the well-known recommended safety period, they would never have been killed, and probably there never would have been an explosion.

All underground coalmines in the US and Australia must have secondary power supply.

According to reports, remarkably, Pike River Mine Ltd had no proper gas monitoring system, no auxiliary power supply, and obviously no safety plan to evacuate the mine following a power failure, accident or explosion. ”

This is just for ‘starters’!

There is more……….  a whole LOT more!

I strongly recommend that you make the time to read the whole report, from beginning to end with an ‘open mind’.

Then ask yourself if there may indeed be good reasons other than alleged  ‘financial hardship’, behind the Pike River Mine company not wanting to ‘fully participate in the inquiry’?

Penny Bright
“Anti-corruption campaigner”

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127


April 6, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Internationally significant information

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