Families of Pike River victims protest at mine

The families of the Pike River victims have blocked the entrance to the mine (Facebook)
The families of the Pike River victims have blocked the entrance to the mine (Facebook)

Friends and family of the men killed in the Pike River mine disaster are blockading the road to the mine ahead of plans to seal it for good.

About 100 people have arrived to protest at the entrance to the West Coast mine, where 29 men were killed in an explosion almost six years ago.

Pike River families say they're more desperate than ever to try and get some of their loved ones home.

Protest organiser Anna Osborne, whose husband Milton was one of the Pike River 29, still feels the pain of the 2010 disaster.

"We've had six years of no action and broken promises, and we're not prepared to put up with that any longer."

She says they "just want to reclaim the drift", and can't understand why they are not allowed into the safe stretch of mine.

"The families are just asking that the last 400 metres of a 2000-metre drift be explored to exclude the possibility of any miners being there.

"I would go in there without a problem."

Greymouth Mayor Tony Kokshoorn also spoke to protesters this afternoon.

He told the crowd that while the rest of New Zealand may believe there is no hope, "they're not from the Coast, and they're not the ones that have to live through this day in and day out".

"It's important that us coasters stand by the families and help them through these final dark and difficult days."

He said this last push was critical, "otherwise, we are sending a signal to future miners that if there is ever a disaster in a coal mine, God help the miners because no one on Earth will".

The sixth anniversary of the Pike River Mine disaster will be marked in one week's time on Saturday November 19.