Lopez on Semirara mining audit disclosure: “Absolutely premature”


Environment Secretary Regina Lopez said there is still no decision on Semirara Mining and Power Corporation’s (SMPC) mining audit despite the company’s disclosure of positive results on Tuesday.

“I got angry, they gave the report to the mining company without going to the EMB (Environmental Management Bureau) head and the head of the audit team,” Lopez said. “I am shocked, and that’s an understatement, that the regional director of EMB sent (the) report (to SMPC).”

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, SMPC said that the Molave expansion project was found to be “technically sound” and its mining audit report showed full compliance on the environmental laws. (Read: Semirara mine expansion ‘technically sound’ – DENR audit)

Its disclosure included copies of the two EMB reports.

“That’s so out of protocol and leaves to serious doubt the validity of that report,” Lopez added.  “That report is absolutely premature.”

The DENR secretary also said that Jonathan Bulos, regional director of EMB region 6, is “in hot water” for supplying copies of the two reports to SMPC President Victor M. Consunji.

Semirara said that they have requested for copies of the audit reports from the DENR-EMB Region 6. It was also disclosed to the stock exchange on Tuesday.

The DENR required Semirara just last month to explain the alleged violations of its Molave coal mine expansion project in Antique. (Read: Semirara denies toxic chemicals in mining operations)

Lopez said that suspending SMPC wouldn’t be easy as it produces 90 percent of the country’s coal supply and generates 30 percent of the energy requirements. (Read: Lopez calls out Semirara on violations, warns ECC suspension)

DENR initially said that results of the mining audit will be released on Thursday, September 22, but Lopez said it was moved to Monday, September 26, following her attendance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.