No action from PM Bill English on Pike River re-entry robot

Prime Minister Bill English has told Newshub there will unmanned entry to Pike River by the end of the year.

He shared the information after Newshub approached him about why he had ignored an engineering professor's personal appeal to use a high-tech robot designed specifically to enter the mine.

This robot is called "HADES". It is an "Underground Mine Scout Robot" - designed specifically to go into Pike River.

It is explosion-proof and water-resistant with visual and gas sensors. Its makers say it could get in safely.

This robot is called "HADES".
This robot is called "HADES". Photo credit: Victoria University

Mr English has known about it for eight months, but nothing has happened.

HADES was developed at Victoria University, and Newshub has obtained documents showing Professor Dale Carnegie, the Dean of Engineering and Computer Science, wrote to Mr English on January 26 of this year.

"Dear Mr English, I write to you with a potential solution to the issues at Pike River Mine. We have developed a proof of concept, mining inspection robot, designed specifically to search in environments such as the Pike River Mine," he said.

No action from PM Bill English on Pike River re-entry robot
No action from PM Bill English on Pike River re-entry robot

The documents show five ministers have been aware of the robot: Mr English, Gerry Brownlee, Michael Woodhouse, Nick Smith and Paul Goldsmith - as well as Solid Energy.

But Mr English said on Sunday Solid Energy has decided to go with another option - and will be in by the end of the year.

Newshub.

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