Suspension of coal mining won’t disrupt power supply, says firm
ILOILO CITY—The suspension of operations of Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) after the collapse of its mining pit wall on Semirara Island in Antique province, killing nine workers, will not destabilize power supply in the Visayas, according to a major power supplier.
Gil Altamira, commercial operations manager of Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC), said its coal-fired power plants in Iloilo and Cebu provinces had adequate stockpile of coal and their operations would not be affected by the halt in coal extraction at SMPC’s Panian mine pit on Semirara.
“There’s no danger of a power shortage. We can source out coal from Indonesia,” Altamira told the Inquirer.
GBPC operates the 246-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC) in Toledo City in Cebu and the 164-MW coal plant of Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) in Iloilo City.
CEDC supplies power to Visayan Electric Co., the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s Mactan Economic Zone, Mactan Electric Co. and Bohol Electric Cooperative. PEDC’s key customers include Panay Electric Co., Aklan Electric Cooperative and Iloilo Electric Cooperative 2.
Suspension of operations
The Department of Energy (DOE) ordered the suspension of operations of SMPC on July 17 following the collapse of excavated soil and part of the northern Panian pit. The transport and delivery of existing coal stocks will continue, however.
The order remains in effect pending results of an investigation being conducted by the DOE.
Earlier, SMPC, which supplies 96 percent of locally produced coal, said it had a three-week inventory of 800,000 metric tons of coal when its operations were suspended. The volume included 280,000 MT for export and 520,000 MT for local customers.
The company subsequently stopped its export shipments in compliance with a DOE directive to give priority to local consumers.
GBPC sources 40 percent of its coal supply from SMPC and 60 percent from Indonesia, according to Altamira. In full operations, CEDC consumes 3,000 MT of coal daily while PEDC needs 2,000 MT per day. The coal plants generally have a 20-day inventory.
Altamira said the company could get its supply from Indonesia in case of a prolonged suspension of SMPC operations. Cost of delivery could be higher but not to the extent of raising the price of electricity, he said.
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