Commercial Start Advanced

LISTED Coal Asia Holdings, Inc. has advanced by about three months the start of commercial production at its Davao Oriental mine after completing drilling and exploration activities there ahead of schedule, the company said in a statement on Friday last week.

"Coal Asia Holdings, Inc… is accelerating its commercial production thru its subsidiary Titan Mining & Energy Corp. (TMEC) from its previously projected target date of January 2014 to October 2013," the statement read.

"The expected start of commercial production for Davao Oriental has been moved up as a result of the completion of drilling and exploration activities a few months ahead of schedule," it added.

Coal Asia is the parent company of TMEC, which owns coal operating contract (COC) 159 in Davao Oriental, as well as COCs 166 and 167 in Zamboanga Sibugay.

The company said that it is already evaluating and testing two new coal deposit areas within its coal operating contract area in Davao Oriental that were "previously undiscovered."

Coal Asia said it "is making full use" of some P800 million raised from its market debut in October last year "to build up capacity" of TMEC to complete its exploration and mine development activities in Mindanao.

Net proceeds from the initial public offering were initially earmarked to bring its Davao Oriental and Zamboanga Sibugay mines to production phase by 2014 and 2015, respectively.

"Coal Asia wants to bring the local industry to a sustainable level and developments like these not only keep us on track, but also further accelerate our goal in achieving that," the statement quoted Coal Asia Chairman Harald R. Tomintz as saying.

"The developments in both exploration and production have only skimmed the surface of Coal Asia's true value, which is why the majority shareholders have agreed to a longer lock-up period,' he added.

The company had earlier said coal resources in its Davao and Zamboanga mines could potentially yield some 600,000 metric tons of high-grade coal per year.

"A reevaluation of Coal Asia's reserves and resources is under way, and a better and improved reserve figure can be expected once the report in finalized before the end of the first quarter,' the statement read.

The statement also said "current sales' of TMEC have reached P63 million, three times more than its sales in 2011, which was attributed to the Zamboanga Sibugay area alone.

Company officials were not immediately available over the weekend for explanation.

Coal Asia is an investment holding company engaged in the acquisition of firms specializing in the exploration, development, and mining of coal and other energy-related businesses in the Philippines and in Asia, according to its Web site.

The company's shares shed one centavo or 1.09% to close at 91 centavos apiece on Friday last week from 92 centavos last Thursday. -- CAMCF