INTEGRATED energy company Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) said Monday it is working to restore the ecological balance of its Panian pit, which was recently closed following the depletion of its mineable coal reserves.
The depletion was certified by the Department of Energy (DOE) after department personnel visited Semirara Island last September 20 to 21.
“Our goal is to restore the topography of Panian and promote flora and fauna growth in the area,” SMPC president and COO Victor A. Consunji said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.
Prior to pre-mine operation, the Panian area was characterized by rolling hills of open grasslands and numerous gullies with shrubs and trees.
To restore the ecological balance, SMPC has begun filling Panian pit with overburden materials from the Molave and Narra Mines, its two operating pits.
Initial progressive rehabilitation was also started in 2005 near Casay Lake at the western part of Panian. To date, over 250 hectares of the area have been planted with nearly 2 million trees.
Once the Panian mine pit becomes a stable landform, SMPC will cover the area with humic acid, compost and other materials to add nutrients to the soil. This will be followed by a massive reforestation program that involves endemic and suitable plant species.
“The in-pit of Panian Mine would no longer look like a depleted mine since the final elevation would be around -10 meters at the northern side and +30 meters at the central barricade and +10 meters at the southern side,” Consunji said.
The +10 meter elevation is planned to be a fresh water reservoir while the -10 meter elevation is being eyed as a possible beach resort, grazing land, pearl farm or marine sanctuary that will be turned over to the local government unit for possible development into an ecotourism spot.
“We are still consulting with DOE and host LGU [local government unit]as to the final land use plan. We want to turn over something that will continue to benefit the government and host community. Island sustainability is our main concern,” added Consunji.
SMPC is the only power producer in the Philippines that generates its own fuel. It produces over 800 megawatts of baseload power for the Luzon grid.