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Halt in Semirara operations threatens power supply
This is part of the coal mine where a landslide caused a wall to collapse, killing nine workers last Friday, July 17, 2015.
Semirara Island, Antique (CNN Philippines) - Operations at the Panian coal mine on Semirara Island were still on hold as of Tuesday (July 21) as officials continued investigating the July 17 wall collapse that killed nine workers.
With production at a standstill, there loomed the threat that coal-fired power plants could not generate enough electricity for Luzon and the Visayas.
Semirara Mining & Power Corp., the country's biggest coal producer, supplies coal to six big power plants in those regions, with a combined output of about 1,596 megawatts, or roughly more than a 10th of their total requirement.
The company's remaining stockpile of coal is good for only three weeks, according to Victor Consunji, Semirara president and chief operating officer.
Semirara's remaining stockpile of coal is good for only three weeks, according to Victor Consunji, company president and chief operating officer.
So this early, officials of the Department of Energy (DOE) had started telling power producers to import coal to ensure the continuity of the power supply.
But this could result in more expensive power rates, according to Secretary Zenaida Monsada, DOE officer-in-charge.
So Semirara officials appealed to the government to speed up the investigation as much as possible without neglecting due diligence.
Energy officials are aware of how important a role Semirara plays in the energy sector.
But if the investigation should prove that there was negligence on the part of the company, they said they would not hesitate to shut down its operations for good.
They pointed out that stricter safety measures should have been put in place after a similar incident killed 10 miners in the very same open-pit mine back in February 2013.