The Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has lifted the cease and desist order against the Panian coal operations of Semirara Mining and Power Corporation. The order was imposed after a landslide at the north edge of the Panian mine on July 17 which led to the death of nine people.
Semirara, a unit of conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc, said on Wednesday that it had “received an order dated August 10 from DENR main office lifting the suspension order on the company’s ECC (environmental compliance certificate) on the basis of its finding that there is no adverse effect or damage to the environment in relation to the landslide that occurred at the north edge of the Panian Mine and same is due to fortuitous event.”
The DENR Environmental Management Bureau issued the order on July 21, which barred Semirara from undertaking any activity at the mine in Antique aside from search and rescue and rehabilitation. The order also stopped any mining activity until the mitigation measures have been complied with.
In lifting the suspension of the company’s ECC, the DENR said that Semirara Mining agreed to comply with the new conditions to be added to its ECC for the East Panian expansion project. DENR said most of the recommended conditions were already being implemented by Semirara, as reported to the Department of Energy (DOE).
The government agency said the conditions include implementing the comprehensive monitoring program covering slope movements and groundwater conditions, and complying with coal mine safety rules and regulations. Semirara has to submit proof of compliance, which is obtained from the DOE.
The remaining three conditions are the submission of assessment on the cause of slope failure, performance of monitoring instruments, climate change projects and hydrological stability, erodibility of mine workings, a hazard and operability study within 60 days and installation of an automatic weather station.
On July 17, the DOE suspended the operations of the Semirara coal mines after the incident. According to DOE documents, the Semirara open pit mine produced 96.9% of the 7.58 million tonnes of locally produced coal last year.