CONSUNJI-LED Semirara Mining and Power Corp. is hiking its 2018 capital expenditures by 62 percent to P13 billion to boost its excavating capacity and extend the operating life of its power facilities.

More than half, or P7 billion, will be allotted to its subsidiaries Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC) and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. (SLPGC).

Of the P7 billion, around $90 million or P4.5 billion, will be used for the life extension program of Sem-Calaca while the remaining P2.3 billion will fund the two subsidiaries’ regular maintenance.

Semirara said funding for the power segment investments will come from a combination of internally generated funds and medium- to long-term loans.

The remaining P6 billion will be invested in more acquisitions of dump trucks, excavators, and other support equipment to ramp up its stripping operations. Funding for the P6 billion will come from the company’s balance sheet.

For its coal production business, Semirara said it will need heavy equipment to move more overburden materials, which will be used to accelerate the final rehabilitation of its South Panian pit in Antique Province.

“We plan to totally fill the southern portion of the Panial pit within the next two years so it becomes a stable landform,” Semirara President and Chief Operating Officer Victor Consunji said.

“After that, we will undertake a massive reforestation program in the area to restore its ecological balance,” he added.

The Panian pit was shut down in September 2016 following the depletion of its mineable coal reserves as certified by the Department of Energy. Semirara has since moved its extraction operations to its new mine sites, namely Molave and Narra, to restore the ecological balance of Panian.

Prior to pre-mine operation, the Panian area was characterized by rolling hills of open grasslands and numerous gullies with shrubs and trees.

Once the Panian mine pit becomes a stable landform, Semirara 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 involving endemic and suitable plant species.