Mining firm denies coal wastes
The Semirara Mining Company (SMC) has denied allegations of residents that wastes coming from its mining operations on this island have caused siltation that contaminated and damaged mangrove trees and other coastal resources. The company instead blamed Typhoon Frank last year and previous storms for the siltation and the death of mangroves along the Suja Creek in barangay Semirara, one of the three villages of the island. “It was the storm that damaged the mangroves and they have already been replanted,” SMC administrative manager Juniper Barroquillo told the Inquirer on Wednesday. Barroquillo said the heavy rains brought by the typhoon triggered a run-off from the 10-meter old coal stockpile near the creek. The stockpile was left by the then government-operated Semirara Coal Corp. (SCC). The SMC, which is owned by the David M. Consunji Inc. (DMCI), took over the mining operations on the 5,500-hectare island in 1999. Barroquillo also denied the allegation of residents contained in a petition that the company’s siltation pond had been non-functional for nearly a year. The company conducts monthly water sampling on its seven-stage siltation pond, which serves as the outflow from the coal washing plant, Barroquillo said. Barroquillo said the company would transfer the coal washing plant near the Panian coal mine within the year to make it more efficient and economical.