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News > SMPC mine rehab wins ASEAN award

SMPC mine rehab wins ASEAN award

INTEGRATED energy company Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) received top honors in the recently held ASEAN Energy Awards, Southeast Asia’s highest recognition for excellence, creativity, practicality, and dedication to a cause in the field of energy.

SMPC was declared a winner in the Special Submission category for its accelerated rehabilitation of its South Panian pit in Semirara Island, Antique.

The category is reserved for projects that involve innovative, creative, best practices, and excellent cases in the field of coal development and utilization. Entries are required to show the contribution of the project to energy transition and energy resilience, as well as low carbon sustainable development.

“We share this recognition with the Department of Energy, the driving force behind this unprecedented feat. They wanted South Panian to be the model of sustainable and responsible mining in the country, and we did what we could to make this happen,” said SMPC president and chief operating officer Maria Cristina Gotianun.

The fastest of its kind and scale in the Philippines, SMPC’s South Panian mine rehabilitation involved the accelerated backfilling and reforestation of the 168-hectare open pit.

“I am thankful for winning the ASEAN Energy Awards. I am happy and proud because SMPC is really doing a good job in rehabilitation. I know that I contributed to the backfilling that enabled the tree planting by the Reforestation unit,” said backhoe operator Ador Luces, resident of Barangay Tinogboc in Semirara Island and an SMPC employee for 22 years.

Panian pit was closed in September 2016 following the depletion of its mineable coal reserves. In less than two years, SMPC completed what should have been a five to 10-year rehabilitation plan for South Panian.

From an elevation of 260 meters below sea level – equivalent to a 78-story building, the mined-out area is now five to 11 meters above sea level with rolling terrain and over 350,000 seedlings of endemic and native trees.

SMPC field inspector Jupiter Mortel from Barangay Semirara shares, “When I heard the news that the company won in the ASEAN Energy Awards, I was so happy. It’s so nice to know that the trees we planted have grown taller, which may be the reason why we won the award.”

This is the third ASEAN Award for SMPC. In 2015, it was a runner-up in the Corporate Social Responsibility category for its reef rehabilitation efforts in Semirara Island. The project involves the spawning and reseeding of endangered giant clams through the Semirara Marine Hatchery Laboratory.

In 2013, SMPC earned second runner-up honors in the same category for its 5Es Program, which aims to uplift living conditions in Semirara Island through education, employment, environmental stewardship, economic empowerment, and electrification.

As the biggest employer in Semirara Island, SMPC taps into the talent of its local community and hires approximately 59 percent of its mine site workforce of 3,150 from the provinces of Antique, Aklan, Capiz, Iloilo, and Mindoro, with 45 percent from Semirara Island or Caluya municipality.


Source: Panay News