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Sagittarius Mines and LGUs in Mindanao Collaborate on Community Projects.
by Philippine Resources - April 16, 2021
A private benefactor gave nearly P6 million in grants to two municipalities, five barangays, and six Blaan neighbourhood groups for pro-poor programs.
Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) awarded P2.1 million to Malungon in Sarangani and P3 million to Kiblawan in Davao del Sur for peace and prosperity initiatives that will support the citizens of both municipalities.
Kiblawan Mayor Carl Jason Rama, who received a P3 million check from SMI representatives for their LGU on April 6, said that he and his constituent barangay chairpersons are grateful to the mining company for continuing to fund their community-empowerment projects.
Kiblawan is a Davao del Sur upland town with 30 barangays.
“The development packages we get from SMI from time to time are being spent wisely. We are thankful to the SMI for helping us pursue community projects intended to promote sustainable development in the local communities,” Rama said.
The SMI also distributed separate P75,000 checks to the barangay governments of Tacub, Abnate, and Bulolsalo in Kiblawan on April 6.
The mining company also gave each of the Indigenous People's Structures, or IPS, in Kiblawan's Barangays Tacub, Abnate, Bulolsalo, and Kimlawis a P75,000 donation.
SMI's budget for its social welfare initiative was used to fund programs that would fix poverty and underdevelopment in the four barangays.
During the April 6 gathering, held at Kiblawan's municipal government centre, Wennie Pandoy, chairperson of Barangay Abnate, obtained a laptop with the printer from the SMI for his office.
“We are thankful to the SMI. It has not even operated yet but already poured a big amount of money for its social development program benefiting the residents of Kiblawan,” Pandoy said.
Rama said he and his constituents are not against responsible mining.
“We know that the SMI is a very responsible mining firm. If ever we shall have issues with SMI, we shall initiate a peaceful dialogue with the firm," Rama said.
Both Kiblawan and Malungon are located near Tampakan, South Cotabato, where the SMI has been planning a copper and gold mine since 1995. Since then, the company has ceased operations.
Since SMI's inception more than two decades ago, indigenous Blaan groups and non-Blaan settlers in Malungon, Kiblawan, Tampakan, and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, have been clamouring for the company's service.
A South Cotabato provincial ordinance prohibiting mining operations in the region, as well as resistance from groups outside of the four cities, stymied SMI's supposed start-up in the 1990s.
Blaan tribal leaders have been outspoken in their support for the SMI's service, citing the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act as justification.
The IPRA constitution, also known as Republic Act 8371, granted indigenous peoples the right of self-determination and the authority to use natural resources in their native territories.
Last March, the mayor of Malungon, lawyer Maria Theresa Constantino, got a P2.1 million check from SMI for their LGU's pro-poor socio-economic initiatives.
“We are so grateful to the SMI for its continuing socio-economic support for our municipality,” Constantino then said in an emailed statement.
The SMI also distributed a P75,000 check to the Blaan and Malabud barangay governments in Malungon, as well as the IPS in both barangays.
Sweetly Mae Galang-Laguirder, the current barangay chairperson of Blaan, is one of Constantino's constituents who completed college courses with the assistance of the SMI.
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Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
Semirara Mining Expects Profit Recovery This Year
Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC), a publicly traded integrated energy firm, expect some profit recovery this year, owing to improved coal and power demand and costs. SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said at the company's virtual stockholders' meeting that the company's bottom line will boost as the coal and energy markets rebound from last year's historic lows. “To take advantage of the upswing, we will capitalize on our COVID-19 resiliency and adaptation strategy of focusing on our people, finances, and execution skills. However, given our operational headwinds and until our country reaches herd immunity, it is unlikely that we will return to our pre-pandemic profit level this year,” he said. The business ended in 2020 with a combined net income of P3.3 billion, down 66% from P9.6 billion the previous year. Revenues dropped 36.2 per cent to P23.3 billion as coal production, sales, and prices fell, while energy sales fell due to low power rates and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp's (SLPGC) expected and unplanned outages. The coal division of SMPC and the SLPGC plants will be the key drivers of development this year. With remedial steps introduced in Molave North Block 7 (NB7), the coal industry is expected to reach 13 million metric tons, according to SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina Gotianun. “This year, we expect our coal business to perform better on the back of recovering consumption and prices. The remedial measures we have been implementing since December have also allowed us to steadily normalize production. Now that the water seepage at NB7 has gone down to manageable levels, we expect annual production to hit 13 million metric tons,” she said. Due to excessive water seepages, SMPC postponed mining operations in Molave NB7 in early December, reducing coal output by 13% to 13.2 million metric tons. SLPGC is expected to drive profits in SMPC's power market due to higher sales, but Sem-Calaca Power Corp. (SCPC) is expected to produce poor performance. SCPC is the owner of the Calaca coal-fired power plant in Batangas, which it bought from the government in 2009 for $362 million. In the same location, SLPGC operates a 2x150-MW coal power plant. “For this year, we expect uneven results from our power subsidiaries. SLPGC is set to stage a strong profit recovery because of higher plant availability and better spot market prices. Unfortunately, SCPC is likely to deliver disappointing results because of the forced outage of its Unit 2 beginning Dec. 3 last year,” Gotianun said. SCPC's outage was triggered by a seven-month-old generator stator failing. Repairs are currently being negotiated with generator provider GE, according to Gotianun. “While they have agreed to cover the majority of the costs related to fixing the equipment, we are intent on making them shoulder all the necessary expenses. We expect to complete our negotiations within the year,” she said. “In the meantime, we are doing our best to fast track the repair of the generator. If all goes well, Unit 2 can be up and running by the third quarter of this year,” Gotianun said. This year, SMPC will invest P4 billion to rebound from last year's slump. The overall sum will be divided between SCPC and SLPGC for their prevention and repair services, with P2.9 billion going to buy mining and service equipment for the coal industry. Since the COVID-19 pandemic placed a burden on the company's liquidity last year, the management agreed to delay P3.7 billion of CAPEX to this year as part of its cash saving steps.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
Australian Mining Firms Show Interest in the Philippines
According to Australia's Ambassador to the Philippines, Steven Robinson, several Australian mining firms have shown interest in mining in the Philippines, and the recent lifting of a nine-year ban on new mining ventures has paved the way for the possibility of responsible and world-class mining. Robinson said that mining if conducted safely and in accordance with international standards, could help the Philippines recover from the effects of the pandemic's economic impact. “The miners that we already have here—Orica [Philippines], OceanaGold, Red 5 [group], a number of them—are already thinking about what the future holds for them as a result of that ban being lifted,” he said in a virtual briefing on Monday. “They have started to reach out to us just in recent times to express interest in mining across the Philippines. I think that is a very positive step for the Philippines and good for Australian miners here,” he added, when asked to comment on the lifting of the ban. Malacanang recently released Executive Order No. 130, effectively lifting the nine-year ban on new mining deals. The order reversed a clause of then-President Benigno Aquino III's Executive Order No. 79, which was issued in 2012. The EO included a clause prohibiting the issuance of new mining licenses or mining output sharing arrangements unless a new revenue-sharing scheme was established. President Rodrigo Duterte said that the mining tax scheme included in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act had already met the EO's requirements. The TRAIN Act increased the excise on minerals, mining goods, and quarry services from 2% to 4%, lowering personal income taxes while increasing consumption taxes. Duterte previously stated that the country had only used about 5% of its natural wealth. According to the Australian ambassador, this demonstrated that there was something that could be achieved in the world to assist in its economic recovery. “The Philippines is a natural resource-rich country, and there’s much that could be done here that will really benefit the Philippines’ recovery, and Australian firms know that,” Robinson said.
Philippine Resources - May 07, 2021
AC Energy Focuses on 12GW of Renewable Energy Projects
AC Energy (ACEN) is operating on approximately 12 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy (RE) projects, more than double its goal of five GW for 2025, as it strives to become Southeast Asia's largest listed RE network. At COL Financial's briefing, ACEN President and CEO Eric Francia said the 12GW of projects placed the Ayala-led company in a fantastic position to achieve its long-term goals. Solar and wind platforms will make up the majority of the projects it plans to begin in 2021. With 5,200 megawatts (MW), Australia leads the way, followed by the Philippines with 3,400MW, Vietnam with 2,400MW, and India and other Asia-Pacific countries with 900MW. 1,000MW of the 12GW projects in the pipeline are expected to reach financial close in the next six to twelve months, bringing the company more than halfway to its target. By the end of the year, ACEN hopes to obtain regulatory clearance for the influx of foreign funds. The Ayala Group's power arm is maintaining a follow-on offering (FOO) until Friday, with shares priced at Php6.50 per share. “We are grateful for the continued support of our regulators and for the overwhelming response we received from the institutional investors during the book-building process. The exceptional investor support reinforces AC Energy’s position as the region’s leading renewables platform,” Francia said in a statement disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange. The FOO is part of a five-step effort by the company to generate Php30 billion for clean energy programs this year. “The FOO completes the company’s successful fundraising efforts this year and allows it to play a meaningful role in the green-led recovery,” Francia added.