15 areas in Mindanao eyed for coal exploration

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Thursday, August 7, 2014


MINDANAO will soon have its own, possibly huge coal reserves, as Department of Energy (DOE) opens 15 areas up for bidding to investors for exploration.

Rino Abad, director of Energy Resource Development Bureau (ERDB) of DOE, in an interview Thursday, encouraged investors to submit application for exploration and test the viability of these areas for coal production.

He said Mindanao, being the country's coal basin, is abundant with coal reserves that can be used to run the power plants in the country.

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"We want to invite different sectors (to invest)," he said during the 5th Philippine Energy Contracting Round of DOE Information Education Campaign (IEC) Thursday at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao.

He said exploration of coal may help in the expansion of power generation mix of Mindanao because renewable energy alone will not be enough to sustain the island's power needs.

He, however, cannot ascertain if these coal reserves are enough to put a dent in the coal importation of power companies from Indonesia and Australia to run their plant facilities for quality reasons.

Tapping the coal reserves may only bring down, but not totally stop coal importation.

There's one type required by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) called bituminous, which contains less than 1 percent sulfur; the other that isn't allowed is sub-bituminous.

"For sub-bituminous, we add a purified coal to lessen the sulfur content," he said.

Deadline for the submission of applications is set on September 26, 2014.

Meanwhile, Titan Mining and Energy Corp., the mining arm of Coal Asia Holdings Inc., is applying to convert exploration into commercial operation in Davao Oriental after finding out that there's a coal reserves there.

Abad said they are yet verify their application, adding that they should meet the four conditions set by the DOE.

First, the project should be commercially viable; second, secure Environment Compliance Certificate; clearance from National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP); and lastly, the site must be verified by a technical team from DOE.

He added a team from ERDB is set to inspect the site in Davao Oriental today to inspect if the company is able to meet the conditions.

"We have to verify its commerciality because without it the company might not sustain," he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 08, 2014.

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