Altura Mining’s subsidiary company Altura Mining Philippines Inc (AMPI) has been awarded a further two Coal Operating Contracts (COC). The contracts are for areas which were bid for in the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4 (PECR4) held in March 2012.

The COCs are known as Area 4 – Rapu-Rapu (Albay region) and Area 17 – Surigao del Sur (Bislig region). Area 4 consists of 3000 hectares and is immediately adjacent to the coal producing Rapu-Rapu Island on the mid-eastern seaboard, whilst Area 17 consists of 7000 hectares and is on the south-eastern seaboard in the existing Bislig coal mining area.

The acquisition of Areas 4 and 17 brings Altura’s total South East Asian coal exploration holdings to more than 34,000 hectares. The expansion of coal exploration holdings reinforces Altura’s objective of developing and becoming a significant energy company in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Republic of Philippines has significant coal resources of mostly sub-bituminous rank coal with the Department of Energy (DOE) reporting potential resources of 2.37 billion tonnes (December 2010). The PECR4 bidding process was aimed at the development of energy projects to meet the expanding domestic supply requirement.

Coal consumption in the Philippines reached more than 18 million tonnes in 2012 with almost 12 million tonnes imported, primarily from Indonesia. The majority of coal is required to feed the country’s 11 existing coal fired power plants and the need is set to expand with the Philippines’ plans to construct a further seven coal-fired power plants.

Delays have been experienced in accessing Altura’s existing Catanduanes tenement due to stakeholder concerns with mining in general.

The DOE, as issuer of the COCs has conducted stakeholder meetings in the Rapu-Rapu and Surigao del Sur tenement areas prior to issuing the contracts to Altura. The consultation process has resulted in delays in issuing the COCs, however it should be beneficial for future engagement with stakeholders and a more rapid progression of on-ground activities to evaluate the coal mining potential from each area.

AMPI will now commence exploration activities in these two newly awarded contract areas in line with the approved work program and stakeholder consultation process.

AMPI also confirms that it has representation on the ASEAN Forum on Coal (AFOC) Philippine board with AMPI local partner and director Attorney Chato Rodriguez being elected as President recently.

AFOC is an attached energy body of the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), an intergovernmental organization composed of Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore. The objectives of the AFOC is to enhance ASEAN energy cooperation in the coal sector, promote private sector participation in the coal industry, promote intra-ASEAN business on coal and provide for dialogue among coal industry players in the region.