SEMIRARA Mining and Power Corp (SMPC) plans to modernise its fleet to facilitate a coal mine expansion program. The Consunji-led company spent P3.5 billion for the procurement of equipment in the first half of the year and by the end of 2017, expects to have spent P5 billion.

SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said the program was being funded through equity and debt with some financed by banks and some internally generated. It is significantly more than the P980 million spent in 2016.

As at early August SMPC had taken delivery of 46 dump trucks, six hydraulic excavators and other support machinery. The company is expecting 21 more pieces of heavy equipment by the end of the year.

The new dump trucks and hydraulic excavators are more fuel efficient, which will enable the company to reduce its carbon footprint and operating costs while boosting production. SMPC president and chief operating officer Victor Consunji said the Japanese heavy equipment supplier had informed the company that fuel consumption of the new dump trucks could be reduced by as much as 14% compared to older models.

Fuel expenses account for 40% to 45% of SMPC’s operating costs.

“This is the start of our fleet modernisation program,” Victor Consunji said. “We plan to continue this in 2018 by decommissioning our aging heavy equipment and replacing it with newer models. Our goal is to improve operational efficiency and environmental performance.”

SMPC plans to increase coal output to 16 million tonnes at its mines in Antique over the next two to three years. This has been facilitated by approval of the company’s amended environmental clearance certificate.

2016 was a bumper year for the coal miner as it achieved production of 11.9 million tonnes, the maximum output allowable. SMPC then submitted a work program to the Department of Energy indicating a 2017 target of 14 million tonnes and production of 16 million tonnes in 2018.

The increase is in line with the government’s push for power stability, optimal energy pricing, modernized infrastructure and more reliance on domestic coal production.

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