Three bodies had been recovered while six were still missing, the statement confirmed.
“The Department of Energy has ordered the immediate suspension of the operations of Coal Operating Contract No. 5 Semirara, Antique effective immediately”, the official statement said.
She said it was raining heavily for days on the mine site on an island off the main island of Panay in the central Philippines.
Investigators haven’t yet determined what caused the collapse but Cadiao said she was told part of the pit wall may have grown sodden by days of rain or the seepage of seawater.
“The victims were brought to the Semirara hospital on plastic bags and family members of the victims were called to identify them”, Lavega said, adding that the management of the coal mine has barred civilians from getting near the mine site.
According to Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, a portion of the northern edge of Panian mine gave way at around 3:45 a.m., burying workers.
Mining operations were suspended following the incident and an investigation has been launched.
On February 13, 2013, a landslide also occurred at the SMPC mine site in Caluya town.
Energy office-in-charge Zenaida Monsada also ordered the formation of a panel to probe the incident.
‘Precautionary measures should have been in place, ‘ the governor said.
Semirara, a unit of Philippine conglomerate DMCI Holdings, is the country’s largest coal miner.
“I’m sure this will undergo investigation and I hope there is no neglect on the part of the contractor”, Cadiao said. He confirmed that the missing were buried alive by the landslide.
Local police also cited Duro’s report, which identified three of the casualties as Alexander Nodo, Ricardo Panes and Arnold Omac, who were employed as mining truck service operators. “We don’t have the complete details yet”.