FORMER Pike River Coal chief executive Peter Whittall has denied 12 charges of health and safety failings ahead of the deadly explosions at the New Zealand coal mine nearly two years ago.
Whittall appeared in Greymouth District Court on Thursday, where he entered the not guilty plea, RadioLive reports.
He faces 12 charges linked to failures of methane explosion management, strata management, ventilation management and mitigating the risk and impact of an explosion.
The breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 each carry a maximum penalty of $NZ250,000.
Twenty-nine men were killed in 2010 when a series explosions tore through the underground coal mine.
Pike River subcontractor VLI Drilling has already admitted guilt guilt on three health and safety charges.
VLI Drilling is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday. A hearing for Pike River Coal, which faces 10 charges, will also be held on Friday.