EDC: Mt. Apo geothermal plant doesn’t cause quakes or volcanic eruption

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 03 November ) — The Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the country’s sole producer of geothermal energy on Sunday said their geothermal production in Mount Apo does not cause earthquakes or trigger volcanic eruption, contrary to claims made in social media postings.

In a press statement on Sunday, Romy Kee, head of the EDC’s Mount Apo Geothermal Project (MAGP) facility, quoted studies made by scientists that no man-made activity can cause a volcanic eruption.

“Only a change in chemistry, pressure and temperature can cause a volcanic eruption,” Kee explained.

The Mt. Apo Geothermal Power Plant in the hinterlands of Kidapawan CIty. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Kee added that seismicity in each EDC geothermal site, including the Mount Apo Geothermal Project (MAGP), is monitored by seismic instruments that they installed, in partnership with a network of monitoring instruments of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), since the country is prone to earthquakes.

“The recent movements in Mindanao all have epicenters south of Kidapawan City and none are within our project site. To date, we have not affected the seismicity of the area two decades since we have started operating MAGP,” he said.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum in his media interviews said the series of tremors since October 16, 2019 was caused by the Cotabato fault system and were tectonic in origin.

Netizens posted on their Facebook photos of sulfur coming out from land cracks, creeks, and streams.

A certain Marilyn, an FB user, showed photos of a land crack in Barangay Kayaga, Kabacan, and another netizen reported on his wall sulfur coming out from a river in Barangay Luayon in Makilala.

Datu Tungko Saikol, former Regional Executive Director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resourcs in Region 12 and now Deputy Environment Minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said the sulfur is a mineral that usually comes out from the depth of the soil when there is an acivity, like an earthquake.

He said the process is called liquefaction. “This is just a normal thing.  There is no cause for alarm,” he stressed.

Saikol said the EDC has not violated any environmental law or orders from the government since its operations started more than two decades ago. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)