Nine workers were confirmed dead while four others remain missing in a landslide that occurred on Friday at a coal mine operated by DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) in Semirara Island, Caluya in the province of Antique.
Reports said the landslide occurred at around 4 a.m. Friday at the Panian Pit of the Semirara coal mine, the same area where several workers died on February 13, 2013 during an accident. Local officials said there was no rain when the landslide occurred.
The victims, who were mostly heavy equipment operators, were brought to the Semirara hospital on plastic bags, according to Antique provincial government tripartite representative Ricky Lavega.
Sunstar said some of the fatalities include Ricardo Panes, Arnold Umac, and a certain Nodo.
Also buried in the landslide were three bulldozers, one giant backhoe and dump trucks.
Following the incident, the Department of Energy ordered on Friday the immediate suspension of Semirara’s coal mine operations.
The suspension will stay while an investigation will be conducted, Energy officer-in-charge Zenaida Monsada said.
Antique Gov. Rhodora Cadiao also ordered a halt on the mine operations at the Panian Pit until the missing workers have been found as she deployed an emergency response team.
Consuji-owned Semirara Mining has confirmed the incident and extended its condolences to the victims’ families. “Management has condoled with the families of the victims and is giving them full support. It is also coordinating with national and local authorities to keep them updated on the search and rescue efforts and other necessary measures.”
Semirara covers an area of 55 square kilometres in Semirara Island, and supplies coal to National Power Corporation, cement plants, paper mills, textile-dying plants, canneries, food factories, sugar mill and fertilizer plant. The company exports coal to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.