Following the 2018 directive of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program of the Panian Open Pit Coal Mine of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) garnered first place at the 2021 ASEAN Coal Awards which were held during last Wednesday’s (15 September 2021) 39th ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM).
“Recognizing the success of SMPC’s rehabilitation program in the 2021 ASEAN Coal Awards, I commend the DOE and SMPC for working together to show that responsible coal mining is achievable through the implementation of efficient mining operations and an effective mine rehabilitation program,” Cusi said.
Cusi also highlighted that the Program’s success serves as a best practice in the mining industry and a role model to end ‘legacy mines’, or derelict and abandoned mines in the country.
Located in Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique, the Panian Pit is covered by Coal Operating Contract (COC) No. 5. Commercial mining operations in the area commenced in 2000 and ceased in September 2016 upon the exhaustion of its mineable coal reserves.
The rehabilitation program of Panian immediately commenced thereafter. However, the initial program would take between five to 10 years to complete.
Cusi was looking for a model for surface mine rehabilitation and responsible mining operations. Hence, in January 2018, he instructed Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos to discuss the possibility of conducting an accelerated mine rehabilitation program in SMPC’s southern Panian area. SMPC readily accepted the proposal and immediately implemented a revised rehabilitation program approved by the DOE.
Under the accelerated program, the backfiling of the South Panian area was 100% completed in June 2019, after reforestation activities were initiated.
To commemorate its successful conclusion, a ceremonial tree planting activity was held in September 2019. Present were Undersecretary Marcos, SMPC President and Chief Operating Officer Ma. Cristina C. Gotianun, and representatives from the local government units of Barangays Semirara, Tinogboc, and Alegria.
SMPC’s Panian Rehabilitation Program continues to show significant progress, with a reforested area survival rate of over 93%, as well as the return of endemic and migratory wildlife in the southern Panian Area.
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