The Philippines has announced it would be needing at least $600 million in investment funds for its planned offering of 30 coal exploration projects.
Jose Layug, Philippine Energy Undersecretary, told reporters the projects aim to boost domestic supply as well as minimize dependence on expensive fuel importation, will be tendered in the first quarter of 2012.
"We have identified 30 coal blocks that are ready for exploration. Bids shall be submitted before the end of March," Layug said.
The coal blocks are found in coal sites located in the central and northern Philippine provinces, where mining activity is still officially allowed and not yet banned.
The Energy Department has been tasked to evaluate the bids within 90 days, Layug said. Each block may require an investment of about $20 million, he added.
The Philippines imports most of its oil requirements. Coal for power generation comprised 72.5 per cent of the country's total coal consumption of 13.31 million tonnes last year.
In 2010, it produced a total 7.33 million tonnes of coal, including 7.02 million tonnes from the Semirara mine in the central Antique province. Semirara is the country's only large-scale coal producer. It is owned by conglomerate DMCI Holdings Inc,
With its growing population and rapid urbanization, the Philippines imported a total 10.97 million tonnes of coal last year, including 10.6 million tonnes from Indonesia. It has also bought coal from Russia, Australia, Vietnam, and the United States.
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