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DOE clears reopening of Semirara mine

(The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued an order allowing Semirara Mining and Power Corp. to re-open its Panian mine in Semirara Island in Antique.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, Semirara said it received the DOE order, dated September 17, saying the mining firm has substantially complied with the conditions set by the agency for the lifting of the suspension.

“In view of the foregoing and in consideration of the over-all national interest, the DOE hereby approves the resumption of mining operations of Coal Operating Contract (COC) No. 5, subject to the oversight function and regular monitoring by the DOE-IC (Investigation Committee) to ensure compliance with the above mentioned recommendations,” the order read.

Last July 17, heavy rains caused a landslide at the northern edge of the Panian mine that killed nine coal miners.

The DOE had immediately suspended Semirara’s mining operations and ordered the company to stop coal export shipments to prioritize domestic coal requirements.

Panian is one of the open-pit mines in the 55-square kilometer area in Semirara Island, apart from the Unong mine which ceased operations in 2000.

Last week, DOE OIC-Secretary Zenaida Monsada said the resumption of the Panian mining operations is possible within the year if Semirara complies with the requirements to to hire more technical staff and submit a workplan, among others.

The DOE-IC conducted a site visit last September 16 to verify the compliance of Semirara.

Its findings showed the mining firm has imposed a three-month suspension on several of its operational and safety department heads on a rotational basis from September 2015 to June 2016.

Apart from submitting an upgraded mining protocol and revised health and safety program, Semirara has hired several engineers and technical personnel to man safety equipment. It is also in the process of hiring a safety consultant.

A detailed mining plan incorporating geotechnical study was submitted to the DOE.

The DOE also said Semirara has established higher standard of safety operations and upgraded alert and evacuation procedures.

All of these have resulted in a “marked improvement in the level of safety in its mining operation,” the DOE noted.

 

COAL OPERATING CONTRACT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DOE INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE LAST JULY MINING PANIAN PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE SECRETARY ZENAIDA MONSADA SEMIRARA SEMIRARA ISLAND
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