Business Mirror reported that Philippine Department of Energy has approved the mining of this island province’s estimated 1.2 million tonnes of high quality coal deposits under the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round of 2009.
The Catanduanes coal district covers 8,000 hectares in 14 upland barangays within Panganiban, San Andres and Caramoran, all major abaca and coconut producing municipalities sitting at the heart of the 1,511.5 square kilometer island. Monte Oro Resources & Energy Inc holds a mining contract for the area awarded by the DOE under the second PECR that year.
MOREI is chaired by Mr Walter Brown, who also a chairman of Philex Mining Corporation. Mr Wilson Sy, former chairman of the Philippine Stock Exchange, is also reportedly a member of its board of directors.
The participation of MOREI in the service contract application with the DOE entitles the joint venture to the Filipino Participation Incentive Allowance that equates to 7.5% of gross proceeds from any future production.
The entire area is capable of yielding 1.2 million metric tonnes of top quality coal with high heating value. Actual mining operations, however, have yet to take place because of opposition by several sectors, including local government units and the Catholic Church.
Mr Rufino Bomansang, a Philippine energy resources expert and VC of MG Mining & Energy Corporation said in a statement that untapped coal resources in the Philippines can produce 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW of electricity in at least 25 years to provide cost effective alternatives to imported oil and coal.
Catanduanes coal is part of the vast energy source prospects in the Bicol region being eyed by the DOE for exploration. The others are in Batan Island of Rapu, Cataingan and Gubat, Bacon and Prieto Diaz in Sorsogon.