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Sealing Surface Cracks Around Slimline Next Crucial Step At Pike River

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Planning is under way to start work this weekend to attempt to seal surface cracks around the Slimline shaft at Pike River coal mine.

Operation Commander, Superintendent Gary Knowles said this was a critical next step in the process towards stabilising the mine and technicians from Australia have been brought in to undertake the work.

The process involves injecting Rocsil Foam into the cracks. The foam expands rapidly to 35 times its original volume and hardens in about five minutes. If an effective seal can be created it will prevent oxygen entering the mine and stop gasses leaking out.

Rocsil Foam has been used effectively in coal mines in Europe and Australia.

A second sealing product, called Fenoflex, has also been sourced and will be used if the foam is unable to create a seal.

If the area can be effectively sealed the inertisation methods currently being used (GAG and Floxal) should be more efficient.

Superintendent Knowles said the sealing was specialised work which was complicated by the challenging terrain. The work is also dependent on the weather being settled throughout.

The GAG and Floxal operating teams have continued to work with the Police Operations staff throughout the Christmas period.

Superintendent Gary Knowles said "the teams operating both devices have worked long hours and carried out crucial work in terms of the effort to stabilise and make the mine safe" At present both the GAG and the Floxal are still operating. Both the temperatures and gas levels being recorded from the mine continue to fluctuate.

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