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Solid Energy writes to Pike protesters

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/12/2016
Mines Rescue staff prepare to enter Pike River mine on June 28, 2011 in Greymouth, New Zealand. © Getty Images Mines Rescue staff prepare to enter Pike River mine on June 28, 2011 in Greymouth, New Zealand.

Solid Energy says it has written to the Pike River protesters drawing their attention to legal agreements confirming the company has full rights of access to the West Coast mine.

The state-owned coalminer says the agreements mean there is no basis for the protest group to prevent it from gaining access along the piece of road at issue.

"This has been acknowledged by the landowner, who has advised the protesters that blocking the road is illegal and withdrawn permission for them to occupy the land," Solid Energy said in a statement.

"The protesters have previously said they want to remain within the bounds of the law and we trust therefore that they will end their occupation of the site and remove the gates they erected to block Solid Energy's access."

Solid Energy has said that the mine, where the bodies of 29 men lie, is not safe to enter and has been working on sealing it permanently.

The men died after an explosion in 2010, when the mine was controlled by listed company Pike River Coal Ltd, but their bodies haven't been recovered.

Families members have been blockading the road and earlier this month said the landowner had gifted them control of it.

They also went to parliament to present a plan to enter the drift, or tunnel to the mine proper.

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