Drilling begins above Pike River Mine tunnel

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Drilling has begun at the former Pike River Mine site, with the first of three holes now under way directly above the mine tunnel, near to where 29 men lie after the November 2010 underground explosion. Drilling the additional bore holes is the second phase of a project to safely re-enter the main tunnel. When the first hole is completed into the lowest point of the mine, a pump will be installed to remove water. This is a safety measure, aimed at reducing the amount of water which might enter the tunnel above the planned temporary seal. The remaining two holes will be cut into the area of the tunnel where the temporary expanding-foam seal will be placed. The first phase of the re-entry — plugging the ventilation shaft — is almost complete, with just the 1.7m concrete cap still to be poured.