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Pike River re-entry team to venture further into mine as WorkSafe gives green light

WorkSafe has this morning given the official Pike River re-entry team permission to move further up the mine's drift.

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They'll be allowed to breach the 170-metre seal and explore up to a plug installed 2.3 kilometres into the mine drift. Source: 1 NEWS

The next step will see fresh air pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week and the team will move up the remainder of the 2.3km drift, beyond the 170m seal they reached some weeks ago.

Permission was needed from Worksafe to progress any further in the mine for safety reasons, which has been given today. 

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Family members of Pike River victims travel into main drift of mine

Sonya Rockhouse, re-entry campaigner and mother of one of the miners who died in the mine said this is what they've been working towards for the past nine years.

"At the end of the day, we've been saying it is safe for a long time and we've just had to wait for this process to go through. It's really exciting," said Ms Rockhouse. 

"It vindicates what we've been saying all along." 

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Sonya Rockhouse told TVNZ1’s Breakfast morale is high in the re-entry camp. Source: Breakfast

Ms Rockhouse said everyone has been waiting to get on with the job. 

"We had no idea that it would end like this but its fantastic, all worth it. Morale is very high."

On November 19, 2010, 29 men working in the mine died after an explosion at the West Coast site.

In that time, Ms Rockhouse said the families and re-entry campaign has faced a lot of negativity, even recently. She said those people should walk a mile in their shoes.

"A lot of people say it's been nine years you need to move on, I wish I could move on that’s what we would like to be able to do but when somebody dies under normal circumstances you have a body and you get to grieve over that body and you get to go through the whole grieving process and we've got a huge chunk of that missing," she said.

""Imagine if it was your son or husband or brother."

Today's development comes after families of the Pike River victims travelled into the main drift on October 3.

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It was the first time families of the 29 victims were taken almost 200 metres inside the disaster site. Source: 1 NEWS