Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Where nature may win

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  • Eric Dutton, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The truth is, things look bleak even if a miracle is visited on the mine and everyone comes out safely. The Pike River mining company is deeply in debt, and it will not open again. All the jobs are gone.

    Pike River Coal Ltd is gone but the coal is still there, the access tunnel is still there, and the economics still favour a well capitalised mine. The jobs are desperately needed and the mine can be rendered "safe" by draining the gas ahead of mining. It will take months - perhaps a year or so, but it will probably happen.

    Whangarei • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz,

    Given that the Herald can say this in a headline:

    Interest rates to rise if credit rating hiked

    and then follow it immediately with

    Standard and Poor's has put the country on notice of a possible downgrade to its credit rating - which would be likely to raise interest rates across the board - unless it reduces its reliance on imported savings.

    does it surprise anyone that there is tendency toward poorly thought out reporting when the editorial function is so bad?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to rodgerd,

    I don't do hatred rogered. Don't see the point. Don't mind questioning this ongoing situation though. I was interested in what Peter Whittall had to say last night on News but the Police thought they should speak for him. Thought that was a bit rude to cut him off like that. If you think reminding others that the Police are not perfect, is wrong, go for it, as for me, I don't mind so I'll call it if I please.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    "...I tapped my cigarette on the bar and turned to the men drinking. "Say, any of you boys got a light?" It was then she walked in, she was the kind of dame that could get a man into trouble..."

    Heh. Nice one, Tom.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The inquiry should also look at whether the workers' representatives bargained safety away to get coverage of all workers. If that did happen then those self described trade- unionists need to be slotted up in the cell next to the company's so-called mining experts who ran the show.

    Wow, that was an impressive leap. I like how in the rush to lay blame you jumped over the mining company, the miners themselves, and dumb luck, and got straight to the union.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    I'm also at rather a loss as to what "coverage of all workers" even means in the context of the New Zealand union situation. Or how the union could have "bargained safety away" to get it, when history suggests New Zealand mining is actually pretty safe.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    On the issue of "Why the Police?", it's to do with the National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan. NZ uses the Coordinated Incident Management System (in the US known as the Incident Control System, or ICS) for command and control of emergency responses. A key concept is the lead agency, which is the agency with ultimate responsibility for management and resolution of an incident. They may not be doing the operational work (as we're seeing at Pike River, where the Lead Agency is the Police but it will be Mines Rescue doing the stuff at the sharp end), but whoever is their representative in the position of Incident Controller is the person who carries the can if things go to shit.
    The Plan gives Police Lead Agency status by default unless there's another Lead Agency designated either in the Plan or through an MOU - for example, it has been agreed that in the event of an arson it's Fire's job until the fire is contained and then it falls back to Police as a crime scene. And DOC is in charge at a whale stranding. For better or worse, that's how it is, and it avoids what were historically nasty, unproductive turf fights about who was in charge. The IC can call on whatever specialist advice they require, and delegate some of their responsibilities to an Operations Manager, a Logistics Manager, a Safety Officer, and a multitude of other, increasingly-specialised, sub-delegations. So just because the IC is a cop doesn't mean that it's a cop who's making the technical decisions. The Operations Manager slot is probably being filled by a Mines Rescue manager, and it's that person who deals with the "How will we do it?" question. The IC is about the "What do we need to do?" question, which in this case is pretty obvious: "Rescue or recover the trapped miners with minimal risk to rescuers."

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Sofie, as per my post above, the Police are in charge. That means they have authority to decide who does or doesn't speak to the media about operational matters. I didn't see the piece in question, but it's possible that Knowles (I assume) was concerned that Pike River management could be digging themselves a legal hole by answering a particular question in the media. Given that this is very likely to end up before a Coroner, what's said to the press needs to be considered in light of being evidence.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Pike River Coal Ltd is gone but the coal is still there, the access tunnel is still there, and the economics still favour a well capitalised mine. The jobs are desperately needed and the mine can be rendered “safe” by draining the gas ahead of mining. It will take months – perhaps a year or so, but it will probably happen.

    Maybe ... Pike River has been a very troubled venture already. The company will fail to repay a $25m loan from its major shareholder, NZ Oil and Gas, in three weeks' time, and last month it was already begging for more time to meet existing debt covenants with NZOG and the Bank of New Zealand. I think raising capital to pursue mining at the site will be bloody hard work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Thanks for the info. Much needed.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I see that the suggestion that the rescuers are sissies is no longer veiled implication in Granny. Comparisons with Strongman are pretty nonsense, from what I've been able to find online, given that at Strongman the rescuers were at the entrance to the collapsed tunnel section within four minutes of the explosion. Nobody knew there'd been an explosion at Pike River for the better part of an hour, and even all tooled up for the track at Beijing Usain Bolt (I know, I know, sprinter, etc) wouldn't be able to do 2.5km in four minutes.
    It's also interesting to compare the Herald's reporting of these comments, lacking completely in context or explanation of the differences, with those of the Otago Daily Times, which explores the reasons why the situations shouldn't be compared and why there is such circumspection now.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Thank you Matthew. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I see that the PM has borrowed Bob Parker's orange jacket and has now become a mining expert.

    But not surprising as there will be serious questions now about the future of the mining industry in NZ, and the NZ public's support for it (especially this mine which is in a national park). Coal from that mine has been virtually pre-sold for the next several years to overseas countries such as China and India.The government will be very concerned that the industry continues.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Miner's dad: Robot broke down in mine:

    The rescue robot has been sent into the Pike River mine but failed due to mechanical issues after encountering water, the dad of a trapped miner says.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Welcome.
    And for anyone interested, how CIMS and ICS work is actually quite fascinating. They're the ultimate model of scalable management, from a single police officer at a minor car crash wearing every hat to a California wildfire with every possible role filled by a different person, experts being flown in from overseas (that's mostly our contribution when we send people to the US, managers who can slot straight into the ICS model because it's so close to CIMS), and tens-of-millions of dollars of operational and logistical budget.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I see that the PM has borrowed Bob Parker’s orange jacket and has now become a mining expert.

    Ha ha, you are not the first person I have heard say this, along with shouts for "roll the sleeves up" :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    TV news in Australia started every piece I saw there with "Still no news about the two Australians trapped in Pike River, along with 27 foreign nationals". It's a little scary to be called a foreign national in one's own country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Sometimes Sofie and Hillary somethings should remain unsaid especially snarky things
    I note Mr Goff has been on site (as he should)
    Imagine the uproar if the PM continue as if there was nothing he might do that would change the situation

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 576 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Am I the only person who is going on a media fast for the sake of physical and mental health? Last thing I need is another blood pressure surge ahead of a visit from Mr. Stabby... OTOH, why am I at all surprised the Herald managed to compound ignorance with vileness?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    What? You mean like Gerry Brownlee said t'other night. Along the lines of "There's not much I can do". At least he was honest.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Could you do us a favour by boycotting your computer (made with steel, which requires coal) and power supply (high-tension steel cables require coal) until there’s a perfectly safe way of extracting coal? Thanks.

    Not to be picky but.The only steel in a computer, to any great degree, is the case, which could be made of recycled potato peelings. As for high tension power cables, perleeeze. Anyone who uses steel to transmit power has more power than sense, the losses would be horrendous. In most cases these days the cables are aluminium and for lower voltages copper is the norm.

    I believe (though not for sure) that the samples were being flown to Rapahoe for testing by gas chromatography, I don’t think individual mines could be expected to have that sort of instrumentation on-site or staff qualified to run and analyse them

    I can see it now...
    Highly educated and well paid mine safety executive.
    "We need to have these gasses analysed by gas chromatography to see exactly what we're dealing with here"
    Miner.
    "My fucking Canary just blew up so I think were can be pretty sure it's dangerous down there"

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to BenWilson,

    Reminds me of that bit in Immortality by Milan Kundera where Bernard Bertrand decides he’s going to be a journalist because the death tally of a tragedy is reported as “15 men, 3 women and 2 journalists.”

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    They didn't water proof the robot...

    Has anyone asked if the cops running this were transferred to the West Coast after they failed to find Anan Liu?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I'm going to follow your lead Craig.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Oh, and Andrew Little (wearing his EPMU hat) has been around. Think I can resist being snarky, under the circumstances. (Honestly, if the election had gone the other way and Clark was in the same position I don't see what she'd have done or said differently -- and been bitched from the usual suspects in the Kiwibog for her troubles. Damned if you do, damned if you don't, damned no matter what you do.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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