The Philippines’ metal output dropped 5 percent in the first nine months of the year, as world metal prices of precious and base metals remained sluggish, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said on Monday.
In a statement, MGB Director Leo Jasareno said that metal production value in January to September 2013 reached P74.51 billion, or 5 percent lower compared to P78.84 billion recorded during the same period last year.
Jasareno said that directly shipped nickel ore and processed nickel ore in the form of mixed sulfides continue to dominate domestic metallic mineral production during the first three quarters of the year, capturing 43 percent of the total production value, or equivalent to P31.8 billion.
Also, gold production started to recover during the period with 12,991 kilograms compared to the 11,542 kilograms recorded in January to September 2012.
But despite the increased output, the production value of the yellow metal dropped 4 percent to P24.78 billion in January to September 2013, from P25.81 billion a year ago. Gold represents 33 percent of the total metallic mineral production value.
To recall, the total gold production volume fell 44 percent to 15,762 kilograms in 2012, while value of production fell 50 percent to P35.132 billion because of lower documented output by small-scale miners.
The lower Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas 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 No. 6-2012.
Copper came in third with 21 percent share, or P16 billion. On the other hand, the combined outputs of silver, zinc, chromite and zinc accounted for only 3 percent, or P1.98 billion.
“World metal prices of the precious and base metals remained sluggish during the period,” Jasareno said.
Based on data, the nine-month averages for copper and nickel stood at $3.33 per pound and $6.93 per pound, respectively. Both went down by 7.80 percent and 14.27 percent from $3.61 per pound and $8.09 per pound, respectively, year-on-year.
“The softening in prices was due to the reduced demand in China, the biggest user of the said metals,” the MGB chief added.