Sarangani coal plant eyes operation in 2015

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GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/15 February)—The Alcantara-led coal-fired power project in nearby Maasim, Sarangani is targeted to go on commercial stream by September 2015, a company executive said.

Oscar Benedict Contreras III, Alsons Power Business Unit manager for communications and stakeholder relations, said that construction works for the first phase of the project involving 105 megawatts are now in full gear.

Last week, Sarangani Energy Corp., developer of the 210 MW coal power plant, officially turned over the construction site to the contractor, Korean firm Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd.

The project is expected to generate at least 1,000 jobs during the construction phase with priority given to local residents, Contreras said.

Located near a world-class scuba diving spot, the coal plant project is strongly opposed by environmental groups like Greenpeace, including the local Catholic Church, on concerns over human health and the environment.

The coal plant project is intended to be part of a long-term solution to the current power shortage in Mindanao, a company statement said.

In the last few years, parts of Mindanao suffered power interruptions due to lack of supply blamed on the dwindling generation capacities of some power plants in the island and the growing demand.

The first phase is intended to supply the power requirements of this city, Sarangani province and other areas in Southern and Southwestern Mindanao, it added.

Sarangani Energy earlier forged a deal to supply the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative with 70 MW of power. Socoteco-2 serves this city, the entire Sarangani and parts of South Cotabato.

Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. (ACR), the publicly-listed company of the Alcantara Group, holds 75 percent equity at Sarangani Energy with Toyota Tsusho Corporation, the trading company of the Toyota Group, owning the remaining 25 percent.

Daelim is one of the biggest construction and engineering firms in South Korea with projects in over 24 countries. It is the flagship of the Daelim Group, one of the leading Korean business conglomerates.

With the turnover, Daelim has assumed full responsibility in ensuring that the project is completed on time, Contreras said.

Present during the turnover were ACR and Sarangani Energy chairman and president Tomas Alcantara, Daelim Industrial president Chul Kyoon, and Sarangani Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez, an Alcantara scion.

The project cost for the first phase was pegged at $310 million (P9.3 billion).

Thirty percent of the project cost, which will be spent over the next three years of construction, will come from equity to be infused by ACR and Toyota Tsusho on a 75:25 basis, Luis Ymson Jr., ACR chief financial officer, said earlier.

The rest would be through bank financing.

In December, Sarangani Energy announced that they have obtained a P9.3 billion syndicated loan to finance the first phase of the project.

It sealed the loan agreement with a consortium of local banks comprised of BDO Universal Bank (BDO), Asia United Bank (AUB), Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), United Coconut Planters Bank, Philippine Business Bank, Planters Development Bank, and Robinsons Bank. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)

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