Solid Energy claims Pike access rights

Pike River Mine roadblock
Protesters block the road to Pike River Mine (Supplied)

The battle for the Pike River Mine has taken a new turn after Solid Energy announced on Saturday it does have access rights on the road to the site where 29 miners died.

"We accept that there was a genuine misunderstanding, but have now been advised by the landowner that he has told the protesters that they do not have the legal right to occupy the land," Solid Energy said in a statement.

"It is understood the protesters will now remove the gates they erected to block Solid Energy's access."

Earlier this month, victims' families took legal control of the privately owned piece of road needed to access the site. Solid Energy wants to seal the mine, but the families don't because the bodies of 29 miners are still inside.

Solid Energy confirms that it has, and has always had, access rights to the Pike River Mine it acquired from Pike River Coal. The situation has been under discussion with the landowner over the course of the week.

Mr Monk says there was paperwork signed between Pike River Coal and the landowner back in 1992, but it was never registered on the title, so their lawyers are looking into it.

"It changes nothing as far as we're concerned because at the end of the day the damage has been done for Solid Energy - the contractors have pulled the pin over here on the West Coast, no one's going to do any work for them, so I can't see any advantage whether they've got it or not."

He says the protestors won't necessarily pull down the blockade.

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