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Number of workers at Pike River mine doubled to help speed re-entry process

The number of forensic workers underground at Pike River mine is being doubled to help speed up the re-entry process.

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The agency’s confirmed it’s signalled to the Government the $36m allocation for the project won’t be enough. Source: 1 NEWS

The agency has confirmed it's signalled to the Government that the $36 million allocated for the project won't be enough.

At the moment, experienced miners are learning how to gather evidence for the criminal investigation into the explosion, painstaking forensic work in a dark and damp replica mine tunnel.

"We don't really know what we're going to encounter and what might be critical or crucial to the investigation at what point, so we're keeping a very open mind," acting superintendent Dave Greig told 1 NEWS.

New recruits are in training so the Pike River Agency can run two shifts underground, something that will save time and money.

"We're better off having two teams of men working and speed the whole project timeline up, rather than have one team work and extend the life of the agency months down the track," Pike River Agency's Dinghy Pattinson told 1 NEWS.

So far, 15 metres have been forensically examined beyond the 170 metre barrier, but nothing of interest to police has been discovered yet.

Anna Osborne, from the Pike Family Reference Group, says she's not worried about the slow pace.

"They've got one shot at getting this right, and so to rush ahead and lose crucial evidence would just be horrendous at this time, so I'm really pleased with progress."

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Ms Rockhouse, who lost a son in the disaster, has been fighting for re-entry for a decade. Source: Breakfast

The lights and the camera that are being used by the team are intrinsically safe so they can't cause an explosion inside the mine.

The team will be ready to enter Pike River next month.

For Kevin Killkelly, who knows Ms Osborne and her husband Milton, who was killed in the mine, it's personal.

"I don't know how I'm going to feel," he told 1 NEWS.

"I've never been down Pike River before and I don't know what will go through my mind."

But he's determined to help find clues that will lead to accountability.