Monday, September 21, 2015
DOE Lifts Suspension Order on Semirara
The Department of Energy (DOE) has lifted the suspension of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation’s (SMPC) operations for its Coal Operating Contract (COC) No. 5 upon the recommendation of the DOE-Investigation Committee (DOE-IC).
In a letter dated September 17, the DOE confirmed SMPC’s compliance to the agency’s recommendations after a series of site visits and a thorough review of the Committee on the company’s strengthened commitment to implement safety precautions, procedures, and plans in its coal mining operations. The lifting paves the way for the resumption of the operations in Semirara Island located in Caluya, Antique.
In its recommendation, the DOE-IC found that SMPC has substantially complied with the conditions set forth by the agency to ensure paramount safety of SMPC employees.
The DOE-IC’s recommendations include, but not limited to, hiring of Safety Consultant; upgrading Mining Protocol (e.g, construction of a standard buffer zone to ensure bottom support, among others), and Safety Program on Hazard Identification Risk Assessment and Control of its mining personnel; providing a detailed Mining Plan incorporating the geotechnical study; and upgrading the company’s Alert/Evacuation Procedures.
To ensure the safety of the coal-mining site, the DOE-IC will continue to oversee and monitor the mining operations in COC No.5 to ensure persistent compliance of SMPC to the abovementioned recommendations.
The DOE-IC was formed to investigate and make recommendations in light of the July 17 landslide incident at the North Wall, Panian Pit of the SMPC.
It has to be noted that SMPC supplies 97% of local coal production with 1,593 megawatts of power supply equivalent being utilized in Luzon and the Visayas grids.
The DOE assures the public of balancing energy security with safety through continuous monitoring of the operations of energy projects.