Semirara remits P1.7 B royalty payments in H1
Semirara Mining and Power Corp., the country’s largest coal miner, has remitted over P1 billion in royalties to government in the first half of the year on the back of higher coal production.
The company said it has turned over P1.69 billion in royalty payments to the Department of Energy (DOE) during the period, a three-fold increase from the P595 million remittance in the same period last year.
Of the total, over P1 billion will be retained by the national government while around P676 million will go to the local government units where SMPC operates.
Under the Local Government Code of 1991, local government units are entitled to a 40 percent share of royalty proceeds from petroleum, coal, geothermal, hydrothermal and wind resources.
The province of Antique will receive P135 million while the municipality of Caluya and Barangay Semirara will receive P304 million and P237 million, respectively.
“Our continued partnership with the DOE allows us to create and deliver shared value to the government and our host communities. With the increased royalty payments, they can undertake more programs and projects for our countrymen,” said SMPC president and chief operating officer Victor Consunji.
Semirara attributed the surge in remittances to the increased production and expanding operations in its mine site in Semirara Island.
In the first half of the year, the company’s production rose by a fifth from 5.88 million metric tons (MTs) to 7.35 million MT, inclusive of low-grade coal of 772,000 tons. However, coal sales volume slightly dropped four percent from 6.6 million MT to 6.3 million MT mainly due to timing difference of export deliveries.
In the next two to three years, the company is targeting an annual coal production of 16 MT. Last year, it produced 12 million MT.
Semirara has two operating mines in the island, the Molave and Narra Pits, of which about 70 percent of total production is for local demand while the rest for export.
Previously, it had the Unong Mine in the island— which ceased operations in 2000 and is now fully vegetated with thriving aquatic population in its restored lake 17 years after, and the Panian Pit—which was closed in October 2016 following the depletion of its mineable coal reserves as certified by the DOE.
In 2016, Semirara turned over P2.65 billion in royalties to the DOE, up 47 percent from the P1.8 billion it remitted in 2015.
In 2015, the company’s remittances accounted for 83 percent of the P2.2 billion total government royalty collections from energy resource and production. Western Visayas, SMPC’s host region, received the biggest LGU share at nearly P725 million.