Drilling begins in Alcantara-led coal plant project

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 August) — Drilling activities are now underway for  the construction of the Alcantara-led $450 million coal-fired power plant in nearby Maasim, Sarangani, a company official said.

Oscar Benedict E. Contreras III, Alsons Power BusinessUnit manager for communications and stakeholder relations, said that South Korean firm Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd is supervising the drilling operations.

“The drilling activity is part of the geo-technical engineering study being conducted under the supervision of Daelim in order to determine the condition of the soil underneath where the plant is to be built,” Contreras told MindaNews.

Daelim was earlier awarded the right to construct the200-megawatt coal power plant of  Sarangani Energy Corp. that is expected to go on stream in 2015.

In late June, Sarangani Energy hiked its authorized capital to P4.25 billion ($100 million).

“The increase in capital stock will cover equity in the development, construction and operation of the SEC Power Plant in Maasim, Sarangani,” an earlier company statement said.

The company’s equity represents 4.25 billion shares at P1per share.  The Alcantara Group is the controlling investor in Sarangani Energy, which also includes the Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd of Thailand.

Sarangani Energy took over as the implementing company of the power plant project from Conal Holdings Corp. with an initial paid up capital of P5 million.

The increase in authorized capital came following a company pronouncement that Daelim has been cleared to proceed with work on the plant’s first phase.

Daelim’s contract covers the plant’s engineering, procurement, and construction.

Contreras earlier said that the detailed design and engineering of the power station will run through the third quarter of 2012, leading to the actual erection and installation works of the power plant.

Sarangani Energy had acquired an environmental compliance certificate in 2009 from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Once on stream, the power generated by the plant will help stabilize the supply in Mindanao, which experienced power outages in the past few months due to the generation deficiency of power producers, the proponent said.

The project site sits near a world-class diving spot and is facing opposition from groups like the local Catholic Church and Greenpeace on concerns over the environment and human health.

It has been in the pipeline for about five years, with Tomas Alcantara, Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. chairman, announcing the plan to build the power plant during the 16th Mindanao Business Conference here in September 2007.

Last November, Alcantara finally led the groundbreaking rites for the power plant.

Company officials earlier said the power plant would be constructed in two phases of100 MW each in an interval of one year after the completion of the first phase. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)