PH metals production up 11% to P93 billion in first 9 months

By on December 13, 2018

The value of the country’s metallic production grew 11 percent in the first nine months to P93 billion amid better metal prices in the world market, according to the latest data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

“Experts said the prices were primarily driven by stronger demand from China’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. This was reinforced further by the supply disruptions from the world’s key copper and nickel mines,” MGB said in a Philippine Star report.

“Despite the lower mine output of most commodities, the improved levels of world metal prices was the saving grace for the overall positive showing of the metallic mining in the country. Mineral producers are optimistic that prices will continue to improve further,” it added.

The MGB said the progress of the mineral industry would significantly depend on foreign exchange rate, the performance of metal prices in the world market, and the new mining-related policies of the government.

In particular, direct shipping nickel ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfides took the top spot, accounting for P42.6 billion or nearly 50 percent of the total value.

Nickel prices increased to $6.13 per pound from $4.49 per pound on higher demand from stainless steel production coupled with declining inventories.

China remains the major market of the Philippines for nickel ores with about 92 percent of production being exported to the neighboring country.

Gold production accounted for 36 percent of the total production value with aggregate earnings of P33.4 billion, down two percent, as output decreased to 16,025 kilograms.

“The decline in production was due to the lower mine output of OceanaGold Phils, Philex Mining Corp., and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corp.,” MGB said.

Gold metal price accelerated to $1,150.11 per troy ounce from $1,105.35 per troy year-on-year.

Revenues from copper production, which comprises 17 percent of total metal production value, went up 12 percent to P15.6 billion despite an almost flat output at 214,432 dry metric tons (DMT).

The growth was attributed to the better copper price during the period from $2.60 per pound to $3 per pound.

Production value of silver, however, decreased 12 percent to P582 million due to lower production.

The remaining one percent of total metallic production or P950 million came from the combined value of silver, iron ore and chromite.

Filminera Mining Corp.’s Masbate gold project was the country’s major gold producer in the first semester.

Out of the 18 producing nickel mines in the country during the period, the Claver nickel project of Taganito Mining Corp. ranked first with an output of 4.9 million DMT.

However, 11 nickel mines reported zero production as some are under maintenance and care status or have suspended operations due to environment-related issues.

Meanwhile, Cebu’s Carmen Copper Corp. dominated the production of copper.

To date, the country hosts 30 operating metallic mines consisting of 18 nickel, seven gold with silver as co-product, four copper with gold and silver as co-products, one chromite, and two nickel plant.

These are in addition to the numerous small-scale gold mining operations across the country.

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