Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Semirara eyes bigger prod’n this year

Published February 12, 2017, 10:00 PMby Madelaine B. Miraflor

Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC), the country’s biggest coal miner, is eyeing bigger production this year from its coal mine site in Antique amid environmental issues being thrown at it by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
SMPC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Isidro Consunji said in an interview that the company expects to produce more from its coal mining operations in Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique, adding that the company is still pursuing its planned expansion in the area.
While coal resources have been discovered at four separate sites on Semirara Island, namely Panian, Himalian, Bobog and Unong, the company only operates at Panian as of now.
To sustain its operations, SMPC is now banking on its coal fields in the West (Molave) and East (Narra) portions of Panian after having to exhaust all mineable coal reserves at the Panian Pit of the island.
“(Target coal production for this year) will be a little bit more than 13 million metric tons (MT),” Consunji said. “This will be achievable as long as there’s not much rains.”
Consunji said the company produced 11.8 million metric tons of raw coal in 2016, which means it has reached its annual target production of 12 million MT.
He said that for this year, the production will be driven by the company’s investments in more equipment.
It was just in March last year when the government granted SMPC an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for Molave coal mine.
Consunji also said that the company is “on track” with its planned expansion in the island.
He already told Business Bulletin before that the long-term sustainability of the company’s mining operations in the area will also be supported by its plan to mine in the Himalian portion of Semirara Island.
There are at least 120 MT of in-site coal in Himalian Mine, which has not yet been opened until now.
It was just last year when the government started to run after SMPC for alleged environmental violations in Semirara Island.

Gov’t flags NGCP for concession breaches

Published February 12, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
 The government, through Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) and transmission asset owner National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), had flagged National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on at least four violations under their concession agreement (CA) for the privatized management of the transmission facilities.
The infringements include: Non-separation of accounting of NGCP’s related businesses; impleading TransCo in a civil case; failure to put TransCo as rightful owner of the properties acquired for transmission projects; and delayed submission of copies of regulatory filings for its rate reset and related cases with the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The two state-run firms then have prodded NGCP to immediately comply with the proposed remedial measures to keep the integrity of all provisions of their concession deal.
In a letter sent to NGCP President Henry T. Sy Jr. on December 21, 2016, PSALM and TransCo sought for “your faithful and religious performance of all the provisions of the CA… otherwise, this would leave us with no other recourse than to issue a notice of default.”
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, who is also the chairman of TransCo and PSALM Boards, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, and ERC Chairman Jose Vicente B. Salazar were in the courtesy copies of the letter sent to the NGCP chief executive.

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