THE one thing Zilzie's Jo Ufer wanted more than anything was to retrieve her son's remains from New Zealand's Pike River mine.
But that may never happen after this week's announcement that the recovery of the 29 men's bodies, including her son Josh, would be abandoned.
Don Elder from Solid Energy, the soon to be owner of Pike River, with a panel of mining and mines rescue experts, have deemed the risks associated with entering the mine for recovery as too high a risk to take.
The Zilzie mother said when she got the news through a teleconference for the victims' families held in Greymouth on Tuesday night; it was almost like losing her son all over again.
"I have been continually frustrated and distressed with the lack of progress made to date, and that it has taken 18 months for someone to finally speak to the families open and honestly on the current situation of the mine," she said.
"It is not so much giving up on ever being able to bring Joshua home, but myself and my family have to now focus on the future."
Jo lost Joshua 18 months ago and since then the mining company has gone into receivership and a Royal Commission has heard from former employees who quit because of safety concerns.
Jo said a meeting almost three weeks ago gave the families hope that Solid Energy as new owners would do all they could to recover the bodies but the likelihood was sitting at five to 10% with the possibility of it taking up to 10 years.
"However, on Tuesday night Don Elder and the panel of experts explained the hard facts, and as new owners they basically had to wipe the slate clean and start with a new research and development plan and that body recovery would be abandoned and only possibly achieved in the very distant future if there was a safe plan and it was technically and financially viable to do so," Jo said.
But Jo said the question in the back of everyone's mind was what would happen to the mine once it had been taken over.
"I guess we want to know what is the real motivation behind it, because if it is too unsafe to retrieve the bodies, then why would they be buying it?" she said. The families are committed to ensuring the mine is secured and the sanctity of the resting place of the 29 is maintained.
"I will now devote my time in assisting to establish A Miner's Legacy Foundation, which will provide support to families should they ever lose a loved one in a mining incident."