THE integrated energy company Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) on Monday disclosed that it has started the Panian pit final rehabilitation to “restore its ecological balance,” following the depletion of its coal reserves.
“Our goal is to restore the topography of Panian and promote flora and fauna growth in the area. We are still consulting with Department of Energy (DOE) and host local government unit as to the final land use plan. We want to turn over something that will continue to benefit the government and host community. Island sustainability is our main concern,” said SMPC President and Chief Operating Officer Victor A. Consunji.
To restore the ecological balance, SMPC has begun filling Panian pit, which is in Antique province, with overburden materials such as rock and soil that were removed from its two operating pits, Molave and Narra Mines. Prior to pre-mine operation, Panian area was characterized by rolling hills of open grasslands and numerous gullies with shrubs and trees.
Once the Panian mine pit becomes a stable land form, the SMPC will cover the area with humic acid, compost and other materials to add nutrients to the soil. This will be followed by a massive reforestation program that involves endemic and suitable plant species.
“The in-pit of Panian Mine would no longer look like a depleted mine since the final elevation would be around -10 meters at the northern side and +30 meters at the central barricade and +10 meters at the southern side,” said Consunji.
The +10 meter elevation is planned to be a fresh water reservoir while the -10 meter elevation is being eyed as a possible beach resort, grazing land, pearl farm or marine sanctuary that will be turned over to the local government unit for possible development into an eco-tourism spot.
In 2005, the mining company conducted an initial progressive rehabilitation near Casay Lake at the western part of Panian. To date, over 250 hectares of the area have been planted with nearly 2 million trees.
SMPC is the only power producer in the Philippines that generates its own fuel. It produces over 800 megawatt (MW) of base load power for the Luzon grid. SMPC develop, and mine the coal resources in Semirara Island located in Caluya, Antique.
The company has a coal operating contract with the DOE for the exploration, mining and utilization of coal in Semirara Island, with an estimated coal reserve of 170 million metric tons.
As of end-September 2016, the company registered a net income of P9.558 billion, 53.94 percent higher than the P6.209 billion profit registered in the same period last year.
Coal production increased by 44 percent year-on-year to 8.3 million metric tons (MTs) from 5.8 million MTs last year. Coal sales volume increased by 57 percent year-on-year to 9.6 million MTs from 6.1 million last year.
The mining site was recently closed due to the depletion, which was certified by the DOE after its visit to Semirara Island last September 20 to 21.