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Mum awaits justice for son's death at Pike River coal mine

Joanne is sceptical she will receive any of the $A95,000 a New Zealand judge last week ordered Pike River Coal to pay the families of the 29 men who died in the accident.
Joanne is sceptical she will receive any of the $A95,000 a New Zealand judge last week ordered Pike River Coal to pay the families of the 29 men who died in the accident. Apn Photo Library

NO AMOUNT of money can fill the void 25-year-old Joshua Ufer's death has left in his mother Joanne's life.

Only justice for the victim of New Zealand's Pike River Mine disaster in 2010 will give the Zilzie mother some closure.

Joanne is sceptical she will receive any of the $A95,000 a New Zealand judge last week ordered Pike River Coal to pay the families of the 29 men who died in the accident.

The company, which is in receivership, was also fined $646,000 and ordered to pay $2.9million in reparation.

It has indicated it will be able to pay only $5000 from the $2million liability insurance cover.

"It's good the families have finally been recognised," Joanne said.

"It would be good to get some finance for our medical costs.

"But it's not about the money."

She is looking forward to the case against the chief executive, which is expected to be heard next year.

"There's still always the possibility of criminal charges," Joanne said.

But being so far away from her son's two-year-old daughter and the court proceedings in New Zealand takes its toll on Joanne.

Joanne Ufer with her son Josh, killed in the Pike River Mine disaster in 2010.
Joanne Ufer with her son Josh, killed in the Pike River Mine disaster in 2010. Contributed

She means to use the tragedy to ensure a similar disaster never happens in Australia.

As part of the group, A Miner's Legacy, she will speak at a mining health and safety forum in Townsville next month.

"We miss Josh everyday and we hope one day that justice will be served and maybe one day (his body) will be returned to us," Joanne said.

One of the Pike River Mine directors has indicated there was a possibility he will contribute to the reparation cost. Read the story on page 7.

Topics:  coal mine insurance


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