SEMIRARA Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) said on Wednesday that it is in talks with the Energy department for the lifting of the cease and desist order on its coal trading activities after issues arose when a buyer failed to produce the required accreditation.

“Kindly be advised that today and in order not to interrupt SMPC’s ongoing operation and renege on its contractual commitments to its coal buyers, SMPC have requested reconsideration of the DOE Order and that the implementation thereof be held in abeyance pending resolution of the alleged violation, and allow SMPC to proceed and continue its current trading activities and operations,” the Consunji-led listed company told the stock exchange.

This was in reply to the stock exchange’s query on July 9, 2019 relating to the letter of the Department of Energy (DoE) dated July 4, 2019.

It said the DoE letter reminded the company about a department order dated June 4, 2019 citing a violation of Department Circular No. DC2012-05-0006 or Guidelines on the Accreditation of Coal Traders and Registration of Coal End-Users.

SMPC was directed by the DoE to submit its verified answer allegedly for illegal coal trading operation in Pulupandan Port, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental within 30 days from receipt of the order or until July 7, 2019.

It was also ordered to cease and desist its coal trading activities and operations until further notice by the DoE.

The company narrated the background of the case, which started on May 23, 2019 with the supply of Semirara coal to a buyer. The trial shipment of 4,768.73 metric tons (MT) was aimed at tapping additional market with representation on the part of the buyer that it has submitted and applied for a coal accreditation certificate with the DoE on April 5, 2019.

Under the rules, the DoE will issue the certificate of accreditation and/or registration or reject the application within 15 working days from receipt.

“Unfortunately, on shipment date, the buyer was unable to submit the said accreditation as it was still pending” with the DoE, SMPC said. “Thereafter, SMPC discontinued its supply and any trading with said buyer.”

On July 5, 2019, SMPC said it had submitted its verified answer to the DoE with a prayer for the immediate lifting of the cease and desist order/suspension and for the non-imposition of any administrative fine.

It added that an ongoing discussion with the DoE seeks to have the matter resolved immediately.

On Wednesday, shares in SMPC closed lower by 1.08% at P23 each. — Victor V. Saulon