Officials say it could take weeks or months before the bodies of the victims of New Zealand’s mining disaster are recovered.

Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall said on Thursday the company was determined to recover the remains of 29 men who were declared dead after two explosions deep underground.

But there are still very high levels of potentially explosive gases in the mine that have made it too dangerous for anyone to enter since the first blast last Friday.

Mr. Whittall said various options were being considered to make the mine safe but it could take weeks.

Prime Minister John Key said it was possible the operation could take months.

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