Energy lifts suspension order on Semirara’s coal contract

The Energy Department has lifted the suspension order on the coal operating contract of Semirara Mining and Power Corp. in Caluya, Antique, after the company complied with the conditions set by the government.

Semirara Mining said in a disclosure to the stock exchange it received the department’s order on Sept. 17, which  found it “substantially complied with the conditions set by the DoE resulting in a marked improvement in the level of safety in its mining operation.”

The department issued the suspension order immediately after the July 17 accident at the north Panian site of Semirara Mining’s operations in Antique, which claimed the lives of nine miners.

“In view of the foregoing and in consideration of the overall national interest, the DoE hereby approves the resumption of mining operations of Coal Operating Contract No. 5, subject to the oversight function and regular monitoring by the DoE-IC to ensure compliance with the above mentioned recommendations,” the letter signed by Energy officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada said.

Monsada’s letter to Semirara Mining president Victor Consunji stated that the DoE investigation committee had verified the compliance by the company with the conditions of the government.

“After a thorough review, the DoE finds that SMPC has substantially complied with the conditions in the DoE letter dated Sept. 1, 2015 resulting in a marked improvement in the level of safety in its mining,” Monsada said.

Semirara Mining imposed a three-month suspension against the department heads of mine Truck and shovel operation department, mine planning and engineering department, safety, health and environmental department and geology department starting from September 2015 until June 2016.

The suspensions were made in a rotational basis due to the lean organization.

Semirara Mining is also in the process of hiring a safety consultant and submitted an upgraded mining protocol with improvements on the construction buffer zones.

The buffer zones in every 30 meters of height per three benches will ensure bottom support against slope failures and serve as catching areas of slide materials as opposed to the no standard buffer zones prior to the July 17 landslide.

Semirara Mining also submitted a revised and upgraded health and safety program on hazard identification risk assessment and control of its mining personnel though trainings.

The company also acquired and installed slope stability radar to augment the 24-hour round-the-clock mine safety inspections.

The Environmental Management Bureau of the Environment Department also nlifted the suspension order on Semirara Mining’s  environmental compliance certificate for its East Panian expansion project. 

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