Suspension order vs Semirara coal mine lifted
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) has lifted the suspension order against coal-mining company Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) two months after a landslide that killed 9 of the mine’s workers.
The DOE said it made the decision after it found that the mining company has “substantially complied with the conditions set forth by the agency to ensure paramount safety of SMPC employees,” said a news release Monday, September 21.
The recommendations were formulated by a DOE Investigating Committee after a several site visits and reviews of the mining company’s protocols.
The committee recommended that SMPC update its Mining Protocol with the requirement to construct a standard safety buffer zone. It also told SMPC to hire a Safety Consultant, upgrade its Safety Program for mine workers and Alert/Evacuation procedures, and provide a detailed Mining Plan.
The lifting of the suspension order allows SMPC to resume operations after the deadly landslide last July 17 that occurred in the North Wall of its Panian Pit.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through its own investigation, found that the landslide had been due to a “fortuitous event” and had “no adverse effect or damage to the environment.”
Though the suspension has been lifted, the DOE said its Investigating Committee will continue to monitor SMPC’s mining operations.
The Semirara coal mine, the biggest coal mine and open pit mine in the Philippines, supplies 97% of the country’s local coal production.
Contributing power to Luzon and Visayas grids, it produces 1,593 megawatts of electricity. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com