Philippine Coal Miner Says 5 Dead, 5 Missing After Accident

Five people died and five are trapped after a section of Semirara Mining Corp.’s coal mine pit in Antique province in central Philippines collapsed, prompting the company to halt operations.

Three people were saved while search and rescue operations continue for the missing, Semirara said in a stock exchange filing today. “The company’s management is continuously monitoring the situation in coordination with government authorities with the end in view of resuming operations at the appropriate time,” it said.

Semirara fell 8 percent at the close in Manila, its sharpest loss since Sept. 23, 2011. It dropped as much as 15 percent after the news. Parent DMCI Holdings Inc. fell 3 percent, the most in two months.

President Benigno Aquino tasked the local government department to assist in the search and rescue. Semirara’s suspension of operations won’t affect the supply of coal to power-generating plants, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said today.

Semirara, which supplies coal from its mine in Antique, was awarded government coal contracts in the provinces of Oriental Mindoro and Sarangani, the company said in a stock exchange filing on Feb. 12.

The government fined Philex Mining Corp. 1 billion pesos ($25 million) after heavy rain caused a spill at its Padcal mine in Benguet province, north of Manila, in August.

Police Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz today said rain may have triggered a landslide in the mine. In January last year, more than 30 people died after a landslide in a gold mining community in Compostela Valley in Mindanao.