Mining industry to raise power demand in Mindanao by 1,000MW

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 November)—Mindanao will be short of 1,000 megawatts more, on top of the projected 484-megawatt shortfall in 2014, if the power need of the mining industry is also considered, Vicente Lao, chair of the Mindanao Business Council (MBC) today said.

Lao said the Chamber of Mines has projected the power needs of mining companies in Mindanao to reach 1,000 megawatts in the next five to 10 years if existing projects will go full blast.

“This was something that we have not factored in when we made the (power demand) projection years ago,” he said.

The industry earlier projected power demand in Mindanao to grow by five to six per cent a year.

Based on this projection, Lao said that Mindanao will be short of 484 megawatts by 2014 if no additional power facilities will be put up in the island.

He said the shortfall has not yet considered the power demand of the power-intensive activities of mining firms in Mindanao.

“Although they (the mining firms) have the capacity to put up their own power plants to serve their needs, I don’t think they’re very keen about it,” Lao said, adding, “The government has to do something about the power situation to make Mindanao more attractive to these mining companies.”

He said the lifespan of these mining projects is too short to encourage the mining companies to put up their own power generating plants.

“Xstrata alone will need an additional 500 megawatts in the next five years and there are quite a number of mining companies operating in Mindanao,” he said.

“Diwalwal has been bidded out to big companies and the winning bidder will soon come in to start to operate,” he said.

Lao said the Mindanao business community is supporting the proposal of Aboitiz Power Corporation to put up a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Mindanao, if only because “there is nothing in the pipeline between now and 2013.”

“If Aboitiz will put up an additional power plant, it will be a plus factor for Davao City, which will become a magnet for industry. Since there will no longer be brownouts, we will no longer have a hard time convincing investors to come in. We are looking at the benefits than harm,” he said. (Germelina Lacorte/Mindanews)