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Parties charged named

11 November 2011

All suppression orders relating to those charged with health and safety failures at the Pike River Coal mine have been lifted.

The decision followed a teleconference between all parties late this afternoon convened by the Greymouth District Court.

The Department can now confirm that those charged are:

Pike River Coal Limited (in receivership):

Charged with 4 offences of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees; 5 offences of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its contractors, subcontractors and their employees; and one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of its employees harmed another person.

These failures relate to methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management, mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion and health and safety management for contractors, subcontractors and their employees.

VLI Drilling Pty Limited (Valley Longwall):

Charged with one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees; one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of contractors, subcontractors and their employees; and one offence of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of its employees harmed another person.

These failures relate to the maintenance and operation of machinery.

Peter William Whittall:

Charged, as an officer of Pike River Coal Limited, with 4 offences of acquiescing or participating in the failures of Pike River Coal Limited as an employer; 4 offences of acquiescing or participating in the failures of Pike River Coal Limited as a principal; and 4 offences of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of his as an employee harmed another person.

These failures relate to methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management and mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion.

The formal legal process is now underway. The Department can not provide any further information than is contained in this media release. The Department will not be giving interviews.


Notes to Editor

  • The Department’s investigative process, culminating in the laying of charges, has taken 357 days to complete. It has been the most complex investigation ever undertaken by the Department.
  • At its peak, a team of 15 was directly involved in the investigation.
  • Over 200 interviews were conducted.
  • The Department engaged acknowledged subject experts to assist the investigation.

Media contact details

For more information contact our Media Desk:

Phone 021 823 007 or

Email media@worksafe.govt.nz