Semirara mine ops review ongoing
MANILA, Philippines - Issuing a cease-and-desist order (CDO) for Semirara's Pini-an mine site at this time can prevent further casualties, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.
In an interview on Monday, February 18, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje noted that it was imperative for the agency to issue a CDO since at least 5 people have already perished in the landslide incident at the mine.
"The west wall collapsed. We want to know whether the other areas are compromised. That would really require an assessment. In the meantime, the EMB (Environment Management Bureau) issued a cease and desist order so that we will not endanger the employees," Paje said.
Paje added that the west wall of the mine that collapsed was facing the sea and could pose greater danger to the miners working there.
He said the DENR has already sent a team to check the situation in Antique. Paje said the team has been assessing the damage for the past 3 days.
"The company will alway bear the responsibility. They are the ones operating it," Paje said. "The fines will have to be determined by the committee who will do the assessment."
Review of mine plan
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Monday, Consunji-owned Semirara Mining Corp. said it is reviewing its mining operations in light of the accident.
Semirara said the company has tapped a 3rd party consultant for the review to avoid similar incidents in the future.
"The company is currently reviewing its mine plan with the assistance of a third party consultant to avoid similar incident in the future," the company disclosed.
The company also said that coal mining operations at the Pani-an in Antique remain suspended as the company and government authorities continue its search and retrieval efforts for the 5 missing mining personnel.
Semirara said the Office of the Civil Defense has already deployed canine units to fast track the search and rescue of the 5 missing miners.
At the same time, Semirara said the incident is not expected to have any significant adverse effect on the company’s operations.
"Despite the temporary halt in its mining operations at the Pani-an site, the company continues to service its supply contracts to its customers using its stockpile which can be replenished immediately when operation resumes," Semirara said.
The Energy department, meanwhile, has said that it would conduct a thorough review and assessment on the incident.
Energy Undersecretary Ramon Oca said the department would do the review and make a recommendation when to allow the reopening of the mine.
"We only suspended the affected area. We will conduct a thorough review," Oca said.
President Aquino last week ordered the departments of Energy and the Interior and Local Government to investigate the accident. - Rappler.com