Semirara to spend $500m on plant expansion

THE largest coal producer in the Philippines, Semirara Mining Corporation, plans to spend another $500 million on the expansion of its 600MW coal-fired power plant complex in Batangas.

Staff Reporter

Following the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting at Manila Golf and Country Club yesterday, vice-chairman and chief executive officer Isidro Consunji told Manila media about the planned spend on the second phase of the expansion.

Consunji said the further expansion would involve construction of two 150MW coal-fired units beside the existing 600MW power plant of Semirara Mining’s subsidiary, SEM-Calaca Power and expects it to cost $400 million to $500 million.

For the funding requirements, Semirara will stick to the industry benchmark of securing 70% through debts and 30% through equity, the Philstar reported.

“We might conduct a rights offering to do the phase two (expansion),” Consunji said.

Consunji said construction would begin in the third quarter and the additional power plant would be operational after 2.5 years, or in 2016.

“The prognosis is when the new power plant comes online, there will be a shortage of power,” Consunji said.

Given robust demand, the local grid needs another 600 MW of generating capacity to avert a shortfall in 2016, according to the Philstar.

Consunji also told media that the company was maintaining earlier profit expectations of $PHP6.5 million for this year even as it grapples with declining coal prices and lower production.

Production declined due to the closure of the company’s open pit mine in Antique after it was hit by a landslide late on February 13, killing 10 miners.

Consunji said the three-week closure of the mine in February “sterilized” an estimated 1 million tonnes of coal, according to Malaya.com.

All of the business discussed at the stockholder’s meeting was passed unanimously, including the reappointment of directors and the approval of the company’s management report.

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