The minister says it's now just a question of working out the details.
He says much of the country's conservation land is just "scrubland" and could be mined not just for resources, but jobs.
A commissioner and top investigator have briefed the families - and won't rule out charges.
The Government said any economic benefit would not outweigh ecological damage.
A meeting held in Greymouth on Thursday came up with three re-entry options.
The material is used in smartphones, hybrid-vehicle batteries and military technology.
Trans-Tasman Resources wants to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight.
Footage reportedly exists of an intact body, and the families of the victims are demanding action.
The move protests the White House opening sections of California coastline to mining.
The Pike River families will be given keys to the mine's access road, seven years since the disaster.
Andrew Little will meet the families of the victims on Monday morning, first thing.
The Donald Trump appointee has claimed mining leads to fewer rapes.
Justice Minister Andrew Little says manned re-entry is likely for early next year.
Turkey's energy ministry said the coal mine was unlicensed and had been operating illegally.
The Pike River families are buoyant after meeting Winston Peters and Jacinda Ardern.
The activists claim the DoC access road has been closed longer than Ms Barry promised.
The slip covered State Highway 2 completely, cutting the protest group in half.
Officials seem satisfied everything will be hunky dory as the Taranaki seabed is torn up. Are you?
Trans-Tasman Resources will be able to mine 50 million tonnes of iron ore sand off the coast each year.