The canaries in the mine

Canary in the coal mineThere are a great many armchair experts in this country opining about how to save those which are beyond saving. A short check through history suggests that the chances of saving the miners are slim. Coal mines are very dangerous beasts and we are dealing with an explosion, a fire, volatile combustible and posionous gases. Pike River mine was built over a fault-line and Pike River’s press releases back in 2008 suggest that methane was an issue then.

The Hawera fault is a major reverse fault marking the change from hard rock (gneiss) on the eastern side, to sedimentary shales, sandstones and coal measures on the western side. Conditions through the fault zone which may extend for 50 metres will be quite fractured and may contain methane and water in varying quantities. Drill holes from the surface through the fault and also immediately west of the fault indicate quite variable conditions with crushed zones immediately adjacent to the fault.

I note that the equipment supplied by the most likely single tenderer in a process where they probably wrote the specs and helped write the tender document for equipment that they hold the exclusive distributorship for in NZ failed in its first outing. I bet we paid a fortune over and above the market rate for the gear too.

On talkback this morning, however ,there was a very good suggestion, and as usual it seems that the person with the potential solution could well be Judith Collins.

A email writer to NewstalkZB suggests that, for want of a better term, a “Forlorn Hope” be formed to go downt he mine to find out the situation. The site is dangerous and so we can’t expect anyone to jump at the chance. We do however have a long list of bad pricks currently languishing in jail.

We could have Clayton Weatherstone and Graeme Burton and other other assorted scum kitted out and given a candle or torch or whatever is needed to become our very own canaries in the coal mine, and send then down there to check it out. The more generous among you might suggest a slight reduction in their sentence if they survive.

Far better to risk them than good honest citizens. And if the worst happens and there is another explosion…well…never mind…at least we tried. At the very least it would have made their miserable lives useful, even if it was just for a day.

Based on information I have from good mining sources it is highly unlikely those poor chaps survived the blast, thankfully it is also likely that the end was swift.

If only the media and the officials would start injecting some honesty into the likely outcome, it might make things a bit easier for everyone to cope with when the news finally does come out. But to continue to talk of “a rescue” is falsely raising hopes. My only hope is that I’m proven wrong. Sadly I don’t think I will be.