Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Sultan Mining to triple coal output in Surigao

By Alena Mae S. Flores
The Manila Standard
http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=business2_april8_2008

Sultan Mining and Energy Development Corp. plans to increase production from its Surigao del Sur coal mine to 300,000 metric tons this year from less than 100,000 MT in 2007 to take advantage of rising prices and demand in the local and global markets.

The company’s Bislig coal mine is now in full commercial production after Sultan Mining infused fresh investments and brought in more heavy equipment to simultaneously develop and operate several open-pit mines.

Sultan Mining senior vice president for operations Ricardo Basallo Jr. said the company invested P50 million in the last quarter of 2007 in preparation for coal production, in addition to the P100 million it infused early last year.

Sultan Mining used the fresh capital to triple the number of dump trucks and double the heavy equipment in Bislig, such as bulldozers, backhoes, graders and compactors.

“Total sales revenues in the first quarter of 2008 has already exceeded that of the whole year in 2007, when the company was mostly doing incidental production,” Basallo said.

“Production volume will still steadily increase once additional open pits come on stream with the help of expansion efforts financed by fresh funds Sultan Mining will raise from its planned P480-million initial public offering,” he added.

Basallo said coal production, which had been hampered by adverse weather conditions in late 2007 and early 2008, would increase during the summer months.

Sultan vice president for sales Michael Morales said all output from the mines would immediately be sold to the company’s customers, which had fitted out their power plants to use local coal.

“The newly built washing facility is effectively improving the coal’s heating value, while decreasing its ash content significantly,” said Morales.

He said local coal consumption had supported the mine’s current production.

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