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News > Restoration of Panian mine at full blast, says SMPC

Restoration of Panian mine at full blast, says SMPC

Semirara Island – Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) is implementing a full blast rehabilitation of the Panian open pit to bring it to its original landscape a year after it ran out of mineable coal reserves.

SMPC is now on track to restore the topography and ecological balance of its Panian open pit mine.

The open pit was declared closed in 2016 after the depletion of its coal reserves. To return the mined-out area to productive use, SMPC is now using overburden materials from its Molave and Narra pits to fill up Panian pit.

“The Panian area used to have rolling hills of open grasslands with a variety of shrubs and trees. Our end goal is to restore Panian to its original landscape, and create an even more vibrant ecosystem in the area,” said SMPC president and chief operating officer Victor A. Consunji in an interview here.

As of June 2017, the in-pit of Southern Panian has been filled up with 66.4 million bank cubic meters (BCM) of overburden materials, which is more than 70 percent of the 90 million BCM year-end target.

Completely filling the Southern Panian pit by year 2020 would require more than 600,000 BCM of overburden materials.

Once completely filled, the in-pit of Southern Panian would no longer look like an open pit.

The final elevation will be around +40 meters at the north side, +40 meters at the central barricade and +35 meters at the south side.

SMPC will also cover the area with humic acid, compost and other materials to add nutrients to the soil. This will be followed by a massive reforestation program that includes endemic and suitable plant species.

Despite the depletion, the company still aims to increase its coal production to 16 million metric tons (MT) in the next two to three years to align with the national government’s push for power stability, optimal energy pricing, and modernized infrastructure.

To meet this production goal, SMPC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Isidro Consunji earlier said the company will now rely on its Molave (West Panian) and Narra (East Panian) coal fields to take up the slack left by the old Panian mine.

He also said the long-term sustainability of the company’s mining operations will also be supported by its plan to mine in the Himalian portion of Semirara Island.

For this year alone, the company is targeting to hit 14 million MT in coal production, higher than the 11.91 million MT recorded last year which also happens to be its highest annual coal production so far.

According to Consuji, the company is on track to achieve this target.

As of the first half of the year, the company had so far produced 7.4 million MT of coal.

SMPC currently supplies more than 20 percent of the country’s coal requirement, while 79 percent comes from imports. Only a very minimal amount can be sourced from various local suppliers.

It is also the only power producer in the country that owns and mines its own fuel source, allowing it to generate affordable baseload power for the Luzon and Visayas grids.

 

Source: Manila Bulletin