Semirara sees strong coal sales

by Alena Mae S. Flores – November 18, 2015 at 11:35 pm

from Manila Standard

Semirara Mining and Power Corp. said Wednesday it expects coal sales to increase 41 percent this year, amid strong demand from new power plants and cement companies.

Semirara Mining said domestic coal deliveries to the power, cement and other industrial sectors would reach 5.2 million metric tons by yearend, up 41 percent from 2014.

Semirara made the projection despite the setback suffered by the company on July 17, due to a landslide at its open pit mine that claimed the lives of nine miners.

The Energy Department ordered the closure of the north Panian mine in Caluya, Antique immediately after the incident.  The open-pit mine was reopened two months later in September after the company complied with the safety conditions set by the agency.

Semirara Mining said it was optimistic domestic coal sales in 2016 would increase by 35 percent to 54 percent to around 7 million MT to 8 million MT.

“We want to focus on local consumers to contribute to the development of our country. Buying local eliminates foreign exchange risks and helps stabilize production costs in the power and cement industries,” said Semirara Mining president and chief operating officer Victor Consunji.

Majority of the coal used by local power and cement producers come from Indonesia, China and Australia.

The Energy Department reported 3,417 megawatts of committed capacity from private sector-funded thermal power plants as of end-October, which are expected to come online within the next two to three years.

The department expects coal demand to reach 10,420.96 MW this year and 14,487.11 MW by 2020.

Meanwhile, the continued pick-up in construction activities is pushing cement companies to boost their production capacity. The Cement Manufacturers Association of the Philippines said cement sales rose 18.6 percent in the third quarter.

Eagle Cement plans to build new manufacturing facilities in Cebu and Davao while Holcim Philippines intends to expand its production capacity in Bulacan.

Lafarge Republic expanded the capacity of its cement plant in Teresa, Rizal by half early this year.

Semirara Mining, owned by the Consunji Group, is the largest coal producer in the Philippines and the only power generating company in the country that produces its own fuel. It currently provides 24 percent of the domestic coal supply.