Thursday, August 17, 2017

DOE backs Semirara’s new 50-MW Antique coal-fired power plant

By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 17, 2017 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/08/17/1729803/doe-backs-semiraras-new-50-mw-antique-coal-fired-power-plant/

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) and Semirara Mining and Power Corp. have struck a deal for the development of a 50-megawatt (MW) mine-mouth power plant in Antique to provide a secure and reliable power supply to the province and its neighboring off-grid islands.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, together with SMPC president and chief operating officer Victor Consunji and chairman and chief executive officer Isidro Consunji recently signed a memorandum of understanding for the project.

“We assisted the development of a mine-mouth coal-fired power plant or a power plant using indigenous coal as fuel to address the growth in the baseload demand and required reserves of Semirara Island along with the other neighboring islands and provinces,” Cusi said.

Under the deal, SMPC will build an initial 50-MW mine-mouth plant and the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo) will enable the construction of the transmission lines.

“It will provide reliable, secured and much more affordable power to Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon and even Palawan, which already signified interest,” Cusi cited.

For its part, the DOE will endorse the power project as an Energy Project of National Significance under Executive Order 30 issued by President Duterte last June.

Moreover, the project will form part of the annually updated Philippine Energy Plan and Power Development Plan.

“What we are doing is creating solutions for our perennial energy problems in the island provinces,” Cusi said.

Earlier, the DOE said it is looking at the development of coal mine-mouth plants to allow the country to develop indigenous fuel sources and not rely on importation.

Coal mine-mouth plants are built close to a coal mine and this translates to lower electricity cost by removing the transport cost, according to the Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines Inc.

In 1977, the agency issued Coal Operating Contract 5 to SMPC for a coal mining project in Semirara Island in the town of Caluya, Antique.

Currently, SMPC has two operating mines in the island, the Molave and Narra Pits, of which about 70 percent of its production is for local demand while the rest is for export. It closed down Unong Mine in 2000 and the Panian Pit last year.

Semirara open to develop mine-mouth power plant

By Lenie Lectura - August 16, 2017
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/semirara-open-to-develop-mine-mouth-power-plant/

SEMIRARA Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) formally signified interest with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a 50-megawatt (MW) mine-mouth power plant in the province of Antique.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, SMPC President and CEO Victor A. Consunji and SMPC Chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji signed on August 14 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the said project.

The DOE will endorse the power project as an Energy Project of National Significance under Executive Order 30 issued by President Duterte in June. The project will form part of the annually updated Philippine Energy Plan and Power Development Plan. “We assisted the development of a mine-mouth coal-fired power plant, or a power plant using indigenous coal as fuel to address the growth in the baseload demand and required reserves of Semirara Island along with the other neighboring islands and provinces,” Cusi said during the MOU signing event.

The signing was witnessed by National Power Corp. President Pio J. Benavidez, National Transmission Corp. (Transco) President Melvin Matibag, Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative General Manager Patrocinio M. Panagsagan Jr. and Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative General Manager Alfred A. Dantis.

Transco will construct the transmission lines.

In 1977 the DOE issued the Coal Operating Contract 5 to SMPC for a coal-mining project in Semirara Island in the Municipality of Caluya, Antique.

Cusi said the mine-mouth power project will provide reliable and affordable power to Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon, and even Palawan.

“What we are doing is creating solutions for our perennial energy problems in the island provinces,” Cusi said.

According to the DOE, mine-mouth power plants are built close to a coal mine where the coal is excavated from the dig site, placed on a conveyor belt and fed directly into the plant.

Based on a study, cowritten by Arnulfo Robles, there are at least 10 potential sites for mine-mouth coal plants in the country. The cost of generating electricity can range between P2.61 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and P4.45 per kwh compared to the average price of coal generation in 2014 at P5.425 per kwh.

“With mine mouth, we’re trying to remove the transport cost,” Robles, Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines Inc. executive director, was quoted by the DOE as saying. “If the plant is separate from the mine site, there’s handling that will add up to the cost of coal. If you put up the plant near or adjacent to the mine site, you remove that cost.”

DMCI nickel shipments drop as mines remained suspended

By BusinessMirror - August 16, 2017
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/dmci-nickel-shipments-drop-as-mines-remained-suspended/

DMCI Mining Corp., a unit of DMCI Holdings Inc., said it saw a drastic drop in nickel shipments during the first half of the year, as its two operating subsidiaries remained suspended during the period.

The combined nickel shipments of Berong Nickel Corp. in Palawan and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. fell 71 percent to 257,120 wet metric tons (WMT), from last year’s 873,371 WMT.

The shipped nickel ore came from stockpiles of the two firms as these have yet to start mining operations.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allowed suspended mining companies to ship out their stockpiles to limit the possible accumulation of silt in nearby bodies of water.

At the start of the year, Zambales Diversified had around 360,465 tons of ore stockpile, while Berong Nickel had 939,088 tons.

Average selling price of nickel ore during the first semester rose 27 percent, from $28 per WMT to $35 per WMT due to the shrinking stockpile in China coupled with the significant growth in stainless-steel production.

“We have 1,042,433 tons more in our stockpile but the rainy season and large sea swells will make it very difficult for us to make any further shipments,” DMCI Mining President Cesar F. Simbulan Jr. said. “Hopefully, our pending appeals will be resolved when the weather conditions improve.”

Both DMCI’s nickel mining firms were issued suspension and closure orders by the DENR mid-2016 and both have pending appeals to reopen with the Office of the President.

The DENR is also conducting a review of the mining audits that recommended the suspension or closure of several mining companies.

Mining sustains growth in first half; output yields P50.8 B



Published August 16, 2017, 10:00 PM By Madelaine B. Miraflor

While there’s still a large deficit in the production of nickel ore in the Philippines, the value of the country’s total metallic output — now at P50.81 billion — still managed to go up in the first six months of the year with the help of gold and improving world prices.
Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) revealed that the total metallic production value grew by P2.08 billion in the first six months of the year, from P48.73 billion in the same period in 2016 to P50.81 billion.
This was a complete turnaround from the same period last year when the value of metals’ output declined by nearly P8 billion from P55 billion in 2015 to P48 billion in 2016.
In terms of contribution to the total metallic value, gold still ruled over the other metals during the first half, accounting for 45.04 percent or P22.89 billion.
Nickel direct shipping ore and mixed sulfides took the second spot with 36.32 percent, or P18.45 billion, followed by copper with 17.63 percent, or R8.96 billion.
The remaining 1.01 percent, or P510 million, was shared by silver and chromite.
With the exception of mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide (MNCS), which went up by 24 percent to 46,444 dry metric tons (MT), all the rest of the metallic minerals exhibited lower mine output year-on-year.
Nickel direct shipping ore particularly suffered a 24-percent setback, from 11.38 million dry MT to 8.64 million dry MT, lower by 2.74 million dry MT.
“The lackluster performance of nickel direct shipping ore was due to suspension of mining operations following the sanctions imposed by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) due to environment-related issues and concerns; zero production due to maintenance status by a number of nickel mines; and unfavorable weather condition during the period,” MGB said in an official data released on Tuesday.
During the period, exactly 11 mining projects reported no production due to regulatory issues.
Chromite, on the other hand, posted the largest deficit of 42 percent, from 11,683 dry MT in the first half of 2016 to only 6,778 dry MT in the same period this year. Third in line was copper with a decrease of 22 percent, or 38,990 dry MT.
Precious metals gold and silver also reported the same fate with a decrease of 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
Despite the listless mine output of metals, with the exemption of MNCS, MGB highlighted the more favorable metal prices recorded year-on-year. Hence, the sustained growth in value.
The average price of copper grew by 21.32 percent, from $2.58 per pound to $2.13 per pound. Nickel ore went up from $4.39 per pound to $3.92 per pound, while precious metals gold and silver enjoyed an improvement of 1.69 percent and 9.91 percent, respectively.
“Experts said that prices were primarily driven by stronger demand from China’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.  This was reinforced by the supply disruptions from the world’s key copper and nickel mines,” MGB said.
“Gold price was on the upswing in the first half particularly due to strong investment demand,” it added.
The yellow metal was upbeat at US$1,238.46 per troy ounce in the first half, from US$1,217.85 per troy ounce year-on-year, a US$20.61 increase.
Masbate Gold Project of Filminera Mining Corporation & Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corporation in Bicol Province as well as OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. in Cagayan Province were the country’s major gold producers.

Sarangani plant boosts Alsons income to P269 M



Published August 16, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco

The full financial impact of the operation of the first block of its Sarangani coal-fired power plant had boosted the profitability of Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc., (ACR) to P269 million in the first six months, higher by 7.0-percent from P251 million on a comparative period last year.
The net income attributable to parent firm also climbed 63 percent within the January-June stretch to P85 million from the year-ago level of P52 million.
Earnings per share within this financial review period had been 75 percent higher to P0.014 from last year’s P0.008 per share.
On revenues, there had been 12 percent jump to P3.58 billion from last year’s P3.20 billion, according to the company.
Of the topline figure for this duration, it was emphasized that the chunk of P2.19 billion had been contributed by the initial 105 megawatt (MW) phase of the Sarangani facility.
According to the Alcantara firm, financial results for the first half “were right on track with its 2017 operating plan and budget,” enabling it to be poised for “significant revenue and income growth at the end of the year.”
The first unit of the company’s Sarangani generating plant was set on commercial stream last April 2016; while the next 105MW block is targeted on-line around 2019.
The power generation unit of the Alcantara group proved to be its “income driver” and is set to be a major profitability contributor in the long-term with additional power projects set to be concretized.
In the line-up are its 105MW San Ramon coal-fired plant in Zamboanga City; as well as renewable energy developments on hydro and solar technology genres.
The company’s recent tie-up with the Global Business Power Corporation of the Pangilinan-led group will likewise be igniting transformational changes – but is seen bringing in more favorable upshots especially in the implementation of future projects.

PHINMA Energy profit falls to P298 M



Published August 16, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco

With plummeting electricity prices ignited by intensive market competition, the net income of publicly listed PHINMA Energy Corporation had suffered deep cuts to P298 million in the first half from P542 million in the same period last year.
The company, in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has indicated that “heightened competition and increasing penetration of must-dispatch variable renewable energy (VRE) have driven market prices of electricity downward.”
But while it strides through such transition, PHINMA Energy noted that it has some favorable outcome in terms of widening the base of its customers in the retail competition and open access (RCOA) space.
Despite the temporary restraining order (TRO) handed down by the Supreme Court on the policy, the company said it was able to corner 14 percent share of the competitive retail electricity market, making it the largest player in this segment on stand-alone basis, minus the local retail electricity supplier (L-RES) unit of the country’s biggest power utility.
It was previously gathered that PHINMA Energy was able to switch customers for an aggregate capacity of more than 100 megawatts into the RCOA sphere of the industry’s restructured phase – and has been keeping its eye on the goal of cornering that 400MW target for this core of its operations.
It is worth noting that most generation companies are now anxious of “decimated margins” because contracting of power as well as spot market exposure had already been significantly pulled down cost-wise.
The only lever for contracted capacities would be on guarantee of stable flow of revenue stream – a more predictable precept compared to high Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) exposure.
PHINMA Energy, for its part, has noted that “under the foregoing environment in the industry, the company is continuously working to manage supply portfolio costs to remain competitive and is hopeful that more contestable customers will be encouraged to participate voluntarily in RCOA.”