By James Konstantin Galvez Reporter
The Philippines’ metal output dropped by almost a fifth last year, following the suspension of key mining projects and lower gold purchases by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
In a report, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said that metal production value in January to December 2012 reached P100.798 billion from the P122.984 billion a year ago.
Among those operations suspended include Padcal Copper-Gold Project of Philex Mining Corp. in Benguet; the Nonoc Nickel Project of Shuley Mines Inc. and Pacific Niclek Philippines Inc. in Surigao del Norte; the Leyte Magnetite Project of Nicua Corp. in Leyte; and the Paracale Gold Project of Johson Gold Mining Corp. in Camarines Norte.
Meanwhile, other projects joining the production stream last year were the Siana Gold Project of Greenstone Resources Corp. in Surigao del Norte; the Santa Cruz Nickel project of Eramen Minerals Inc. in Zambales; H.Y Nickel-Chromite project of Sinosteel Phils. H.Y Mining Corp. in Dinagat Islands; and the Camachin Iron Ore Mining Project of Ore Asia Mining and Development Corp. in Bulacan.
The MGB said that the value of documented gold output of small-scale miners also fell by 93 percent in 2012, as reflected in the purchases made by the BSP during the year, pulling down the overall gold production value by 44 percent.
Data showed that the value of BSP gold purchases in 2012 fell to P2.304 billion, down by 93 percent from P34.665 billion in 2011.
The volume of production, on the other hand, fell by 94 percent to 1,090 kilograms in 2012 from 17,638 kilograms in 2011.
Total gold production volume fell to 15,762 kilograms in 2012, down by 44 percent from 31,120 kilograms in 2011. Value of production fell to P35.132 billion in 2012, down by 49 percent to P63.142 billion in the previous year.
The lower BSP gold purchase in 2012 was attributed to the imposition by the Bureau of Internal Revenue of the 2-percent excise tax and 5-percent creditable withholding tax from small-scale gold producers and traders pursuant to Revenue Regulations 6-2012 dated April 2, 2012.
This caused small-scale gold producers and traders to sell gold products to other buyers, the MGB said.
Nickel sulphides and nickel direct shipping ore were the top contributors to production value for the period, comprising 46 percent—46.03 billion—of the total metal production value for 2012.
Nickel sulphine production value fell by 0.35 percent to P11.546 billion in 2012 from P19.091 billion in 2011. Production volume fell by 7 percent to 41,383 dry metric tons in 2012 from 38,798 DMT in 2011.
Nickel direct ore shipment value rose by 36 percent to P34.874 billion in 2012 from P25.601 billion in 2011. Production volume rose by 22 percent to 25.134 million DMT from 20.638 DMT in 2011.
Trailing behind in production value were copper, comprising 15 percent of the total metal production value for 2012 accounting for P15.55 billion; while silver, zinc, chromite and iron production combined made up 4 percent of the total production value with a contribution of P4.09 billion.