DMCI Mining Corp. said its shipments in the first half of the year fell 25 percent from a year ago on declining nickel prices and weak demand for lower-grade nickel.
It said first-half shipments dropped to 873,370 wet metric tons (WMT) from 1.16 million WMT a year ago while the average selling price of nickel shipments fell 40 percent to $28 per WMT from $41 per WMT previously.
The company is bracing for an even tougher second half as both its operating companies in Palawan and Zambales — Berong Nickel and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. – have received suspension orders from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Early this year we were planning on expanding our operations. But with the suspension, we have no choice but to put everything on hold,” DMCI Mining president Cesar F. Simbulan Jr. said.
“We actually acquired over P100 million in additional heavy equipment during the first half and had plans of hiring more workers to ramp up production. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible,” he added.
With the recent suspensions, Berong Nickel is set to lay off more than 300 seasonal workers in the coming weeks, while Zambales Diversified has already let go of more than a hundred.
“We are speaking to the host communities to explain the situation. They know that this is something beyond our control,” said Simbulan.
“Our mining and environmental management protocols are consistent with regulatory standards so we hope to resolve the suspensions and resume operations soon,” Simbulan said. DMCI Mining reported a net income of P57 million in the first half. It is the nickel ore miner of the Consunji group via listed holding firm DMCI Holdings Inc.