Pike families brace for long-awaited decision on mine re-entry

The families of the 'Pike 29' are preparing themselves on the eve of finding out if re-entry to the mine tunnel is to go ahead or not.

Prime Minister John Key will front the families of the Pike River mine victims at a meeting tomorrow. Source: 1 NEWS

Mine owner Solid Energy has called the families to meet in Greymouth tomorrow morning for the much-awaited decision.

The families of the 29 men have been desperate for Solid Energy to re-enter the mine to retrieve their remains and find out more about what caused the fatal explosion.

The families met in Greymouth this evening to prepare themselves for tomorrow.

The re-entry decision is a long-awaited one and families' spokesman Bernie Monk says whether the answer from Solid Energy is "yes" or "no", they want family members to braced for it so it doesn't come as a shock.

Some of them have already told ONE News they're shocked at the news that the nitrogen generation unit has been pulled out of the mine.

The unit is crucial to the re-entry project, and Labour's Damien O'Connor has slammed that news saying it shows that Prime Minister John Key and Solid Energy are already walking away from the families.

Solid Energy told ONE News, however, that it's just unfortunate timing and that the two are unrelated - the unit is on lease and it's required elsewhere.

Mr Key will be in Greymouth for the meeting tomorrow and ONE News asked him if he could assure the families the plan he had was still on track.

"What I would prefer to do is obviously talk to the families face to face. I mean they'll firstly need to have a discussion with the company.

"I think they've been working alongside the company for the last couple of months, but they'll need to have a final, if you, like conversation with them about their latest findings," Mr Key replied.

Solid Energy CEO Dan Clifford will be in Greymouth to give the news to the families in person.

ONE News reporter Lisa Davies, in Greymouth, says it's going to be a hard day for the families "given that we're just two weeks away from the fourth anniversary of that explosion that took 29 lives".