A man heading the Pike River Mine re-entry says his belief of finding remains has increased as they’ve moved further up the tunnel.
The recovery operation aims to find the 29 men killed in the explosion on November 19, 2010.
No human remains have been recovered so far but Pike Recovery Agency CEO Dave Gawn hasn't lost hope.
“It is possible that we will find human remains particularly as we know it was during a shift change, we know it was on a Friday, and we know that the gathering point in terms of those men was in the area of spaghetti junction."
The team is now working through debris from the explosion which shows how far material has been propelled up the tunnel, where many of the men were waiting to finish their shift.
Spaghetti junction is a network of tunnels right behind the rockfall but it's not certain which explosion caused the roof to collapse.
The recovery effort is expected to be finished by Christmas 2020.