Semirara says mining in new site can begin

Posted at 02/18/13 4:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Semirara Mining says it can start mining in a new area of its open pit even as search, rescue and retrieval operations continue at the west wall, where a landslide left 5 dead and 5 still missing.

Starting soon could avert power shortages or spikes in power prices of generating companies forced to import coal on short notice.

Semirara CEO Isidro Consunji says the company has about 45 days of supply in stock and it would take about the same amount of time before a new site is producing coal.

Consunji says Semirara produces 5 million tons of the country's 14 million requirement.

"Despite the temporary halt in its mining operations at the Pani-an site, the company continues to service its supply contracts to its customers using its stockpile which can be replenished immediately when operation resumes," Semirara said in a disclosure.

Mining operations at the Panian site remains suspended as of Monday.

But in an interview with ANC, Energy Undersecretary Ramon Oca said they will not lift the suspension order just because Semirara needs to go back to business.

Semirara said it is currently reviewing its mine plan with the a third party consultant to avoid a similar incident in the future.

All equipment that was damaged in the landslide has insurance coverage and is expected to be replaced within 30 to 60 days. - With ANC