by: Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano

Government suspends Semirara operations after mine collapse leaves 3 dead

Posted on July 18, 2015

The Energy department has ordered the suspension of Semirara Mining and Power Corp.'s coal mining operations in Antique after a portion of the mine collapsed, leaving at least three people dead.

In a statement, the agency said mining activities in Semirara Island in Caluya covered by coal operating contract no. 5 were immediately suspended.
Preliminary information submitted to the Energy department showed that the North edge of the Panian mine collapsed at around 3:45 a.m. on Friday.
Three dead bodies have already been recovered while six remain missing.
As of 12:00 noon on Friday, search and rescue operations are still ongoing for the remaining six personnel.
Zenaida Y. Monsada, the officer-in-charge, for the Energy secretary, said in the statement that an investigation committee was formed to look into the incident.
“Our prayers are with the families of the victims and we have directed SMC to focus on search and rescue operations,” Ms. Monsada was quoted in the statement as saying.
The management of Semirara confirmed the incident in a separate statement.
"Management has condoled with the families of the victims and is giving them full support," the listed mining firm led by the Consunji family said. “It is also coordinating with national and local authorities to keep them updated on the search and rescue efforts and other necessary measures.”
Semirara said it also ensuring adequate supply of coal for power generation following the suspension of its mining operations.
In February 2013, a landslide that claimed the lives of at least five workers occurred at the western portion of the Semirara's Panian mine.
This led to the immediate suspension of the mining activities covering the entire site.
Two months later, the Energy departmnet issued a clearance to resume the operations of the mine's northern portion.