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News > Panian mine rehab efforts on track

Panian mine rehab efforts on track

Efforts to rehabilitate the Panian open-pit coal mine in Semirara Island are on schedule, with backfilling activities moving apace at the Southern Panian in-pit, which is intended to have a fresh-water lake.

Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) said it was on track to restore the topography and ecological balance of the Panian pit in Semirara Island, part of Antique province.

SMPC ceased mining coal from Panian in September 2016 as it secured certification from the Department of Energy confirming the depletion of mineable coal reserves in the pit.

SMPC officials said waste materials from the two remaining active pits called Molave and Narra would be used to fill up the mined out Panian pit and bring it back to productive use.

As of the end of June, the in-pit at the southern part of Panian has been filled up with 66.4 million bank cubic meters (BCM) of overburden materials.

BCM refers to the volume of earth as the material lies naturally neither loosened nor compacted due to mine-site activities.

The volume is more than 70 percent of the target of 90 million BCM of material that should be dumped into Southern Panian within the year.

SMPC plans to complete the backfilling of Southern Panian pit by 2020, which would require at least 600,000 BCM of material.

“The Panian area used to have rolling hills of open grasslands with a variety of shrubs and trees,” SMPC president and chief operating officer Victor A. Consunji said in a statement.

“Our end goal is to restore Panian to its original landscape, and create an even more vibrant ecosystem in the area” the promotes the thriving of plants and animals, the COO said.

Rehabilitation will also involve covering the area with humic acid, compost and other material to add nutrients to the soil to prepare the land for a massive reforestation program that includes endemic and suitable plant species.

SMPC chair Isidro A. Consunji said in an interview the rehab design intended the pit to become a catchment basin for fresh water, which would be populated with food fish and other aquatic resources.

“This would also serve to support fresh water supply for domestic use as the lake would help address the possibility that the aquifer would dry up,” the company chair said.

Beyond backfilling, progressive rehabilitation at Panian covers a total area of about 706 hectares, including 288 hectares within the rim of the Panian pit.

With a fresh water reservoir and surrounding forest, the SMPC officials said the area may be suitable for a beach resort, grazing land, pearl farm or marine sanctuary that will be turned over to the local government unit for possible development into an ecotourism spot.

 

Panian is the second pit to have been mined out at Semirara. The first is the Unuong pit near the shore, which is today has a saltwater lake surrounded by reforested land.

 

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer