NOTWITHSTANDING the ban on open pit mining, food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corp. will pursue its coal mining projects in Mindanao.

“We’re not affected (by the ban) in our coal mining activities in Mindanao because we can do underground mining or resort to other ways if they are not amenable to open pit mining,” said Ramon Ang of San Miguel.

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Last month, former South Cotabato Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes signed an environmental code that bans open pit mining.

The ordinance might derail the US$ 5.2-billion Tampakan copper-gold project of Sagittarius Mines Inc. and other open-pit mining activities in the province.

To recall, San Miguel acquired three coal mines in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat with resources capable of generating 1,200 megawatts (MW). These were previously owned by Daguma Agro Minerals Inc., Bonanza Energy Resources Inc. and Sultan Energy Mining and Development Corp.

Ang said San Miguel had planned to put up a 300-MW mine-mouth coal power plant in General Santos City following its acquisition of Daguma’s coal mine.

He added that they are currently in talks with PNOC-Exploration Corp. to either acquire or form a partnership for the Malangas coal mine in Zamboanga Sibugay, as part of the company's expansion plan in Mindanao. (MSN/Sunnex)