The country’s metal production value sustained growth in the first half of the year, with stronger output from major copper and gold producers making up for the decline in commodity prices, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said on Wednesday.
In a report, MGB Director Leo Jasareno said that the total value of metallic production in January-June 2014 reached P57.27 billion, higher by 22 percent than the P46.84 billion a year ago.
“This is the fourth consecutive quarter that the metallic sector enjoyed positive growth,” Jasareno said.
The value growth was sustained despite declines in spot prices for all metals except for nickel during the period. Nickel prices increased from $6.38 to $8.74 per pound from January to June, while the average price of gold registered a decline of 15.31 percent from $1,524.52 to $1,291.05 per troy ounce. Silver slipped from $26.64 to $20.05 per troy ounce, while copper dropped from $3.39 to $3.11 per pound.
Nickel, gold, copper main value drivers
Jasareno attributed the overall upswing for the sector to the good showing of major copper ore producers, including the Didipio Copper-Gold Project of Oceanagold Philippines, Inc. and the Padcal Copper-Gold Project of Philex Mining Corporation.
The High Pressure Acid Leach Plant of Taganito Mining Corporation in Claver, Surigao del Norte, which commenced operation in October 2013, was also a big contributor with about P4.04 billion, he pointed out.
However, in terms of percentage contribution to the total production value, direct-shipped nickel ore and mixed nickel sulfides were the prime mover, accounting for 54.19 percent or P31.03 billion of the total. Gold production contributed 26.69 percent, or about P15.28 billion, followed by copper with 17.72 percent or P10.15 billion. The remaining 1.40 percent or P0.80 billion was shared by silver, chromite and iron.
Zinc production halted
The increased production volumes from other mines cushioned the effects of the closures of the Canatuan Mining Project of TVI Resource Development (Phils) Inc. (TVI) and the Rapu-Rapu Polymetallic Project of Rapu-Rapu Minerals, Inc. (RRMI).
The closures of the TVI and RRMI projects also led to the one significant loss in the first-half production statistics, as they were the only zinc producers in the Philippines. Zinc production value in the first half of 2013 was P0.41 billion, but no production was recorded in the first half of 2014.