Firm eyes strip mining in Lake Sebu

Firm eyes strip mining in Lake Sebu

KORONADAL CITY – A coal firm said it might resort to strip mining to minimize operational cost for its coal project in Lake Sebu.

Daguma Agro Minerals Inc. resident geologist Edilberto Navarro said studies suggest that the best method for its project is strip mining “since the deposits lie in not over 100 meters from the ground.”

“Even 20 meters from the surface, coal is already present,” he said.

Navarro also revealed that they have already conducted 31 drillings in Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu town.

The Daguma coal project holds a 2,000-hectare license area under Coal Operation Contract 126.

The operation contract was awarded a conversion from exploration phase to a development/production company sources said they expect to mine over 27 million metric tons of deposits in the area.

The presence of coal deposits in Lake Sebu is a recent discovery and is said to be the largest in the country.

Navarro said the effects of strip mining to the environment would be “minimal.”

“With such method, we will take away the surface overburden and after the deposits are taken out, the overburden will be returned,” he explained.

Internet researches revealed that strip-mining method involve removal of the vegetation, soil and rock layers to expose the minerals.

Strip mining is often resorted to when minerals are flat-lying and close to the surface.

Navarro said in the wake of high prices of oil, it is “imperative to look for alternative fuel that can produce electricity.” He said half of the world’s power came from coal.

The coal project is being opposed by members of the T’boli tribe and scores of Christian settlers in Ned who claimed that the venture went on without their consent.

Municipal agrarian reform officer Celso Caro fears the development projects that were poured into the village for decades would vanish should Daguma push through with its project.

Caro estimated that some P500 million worth of projects have been extended to the village, by the Asian Development Bank and the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Foreign firm Crew Gold Corp. has signified intention to acquire majority ownership, about 95 percent, of Daguma.

The option period, which was earlier set for exercising last September 22, was moved to October 22.

The foreign firm secured the option by paying to Daguma Agro a non-refundable option fee of $150,000 (about P8 million), which entitled it to conduct a due diligence assessment.

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