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PIA Press Release

Mining contract for coal area in Masbate sought

by EA Delgado

Masbate City (24 June) -- Because of its coal deposits, a town in Masbate is one of the sites in the country being sought out for exploration and development by mining companies.

The Department of Energy (DOE) said Cataingan, 80 kilometers from the capital city of Masbate, is among 18 areas in the country which are subjects of 25 contract proposals to explore and develop prospective coal sites.

Energy Undersecretary Ramon Allan Oca said the proposals were submitted under the fourth Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR) 2009 for coal.

At least 13 local companies submitted the proposals, Oca said in a statement quoted by the energy department website

It was reported that the DOE intended to finish the technical, legal and financial evaluation of the proposal within a month.

"I don't want to take this long to avoid any doubts as to what we're doing," Oca added.

PECR is a public bidding round aimed at encouraging companies to invest in the country's energy sector. These contracting rounds, which showcase the country's potential areas for exploration and development, are expected to spur investments and help cut costly oil imports as well.

Coal block system that was offered under PECR 2009 was in the municipality of Cataingan. Five other areas in Bicol that were offered under the same PECR were Caramoran, Panganiban and Viga, all in Catanduanes; Gubat in Sorsogon and Rapu-Rapu in Albay.

The DOE had earlier assured prospective investors that the government had "undertaken a thorough process of resource evaluation to yield high exploration success that is in line with our shared goal of efficient development and production of the coal area." (PIA Masbate) [top]

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