Semirara prepares to resume coal mining

MANILA, Philippines - About 3 weeks since the landslide at Semirara Mining Corp's coal mine in Antique, the Department of Energy (DOE) has granted the mining firm clearance to prepare for resumption of operations.  

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Wednesday, March 6, Semirara said it received the go signal from the DOE on condition that the agency would regularly monitor the mining firm's work and safety measures during the preparatory activities in North Panian in Caluya, Antique.

"After the review/evaluation of the work program for the North Panian area and the additional safety and operational measures/programs to be incorporated in the preparatory activities, we give you permission to proceed with the preparatory activities for the North Panian area," Semirara said.

The permit does not allow Semirara to resume coal mining operations. Before it can commence, it would first undergo a review of its safety and operational measures.

Semirara is the country's biggest coal producer. It is owned by the Consunji group, which has stakes in DMCI Holdings and Maynilad Water.

The company's Panian mine is the biggest coal site in the country. Last February 14, a landslide in the area caused the death of at least 5 people.

The DOE said that search and rescue operations must continue and that the permit is without prejudice to possible sanctions due to the incident. - Christian Bautista/