THE value of Philippine metals output declined by nearly a fourth last year due to lower prices in the world market as a result of excess supply on weak global trading, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said on Friday.
The total value of metallic mineral production amount to P108.21 billion in 2015, down 23 percent from P140.15 billion a year earlier, and a reversal of the nearly 40-percent growth in 2014 versus 2013, MGB Director Leo Jasareno noted in a report.
Gold, silver, copper, and nickel all incurred sharp declines, Jasareno said.
The biggest losers were the base metals nickel, which declined by 29 percent, and copper by 19 percent.
From an average price of $7.56 per pound in 2014, nickel dipped by $2.22 at $5.34 per pound. Copper was down from an average price of $3.06 per pound to $2.48.
“It is interesting to note that in February 2011 nickel was traded by as high as $12.83 per pound. Since then nickel has dropped steadily,” Jasareno noted.
According to the MGB, gold lost by as much as 8.35 percent and silver by 17.62 percent. The price of gold price declined from $1,269.57 per troy ounce in 2014 to $1,163.59 in 2015. Silver dropped from $19.08 per troy ounce to $15.72.
Nickel ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide accounted for a 50.09 percent or P54.20 billion share of total output. Gold cornered 31.64 percent or P34.24 billion and copper accounted for 17.48 percent or P18.92 billion.
The combined output of silver, chromite, and iron ore totaled P0.85 billion or 0.78 percent of the industry production.
The value of gold and silver advanced in terms of production records last year.
Gold posted a 12 percent increase in volume and 4 percent in value from 18,423 kilograms at P32.97 billion to about 20,643 kilograms at P34.24 billion.
The key producers last year were the Masbate Gold Project of Filminera Mining Corporation/Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corporation in Masbate Province; the Didipio Project of Oceana Gold (Philippines) Inc. in Nueva Vizcaya Province; and the Co-o Gold Project of Philsaga Mining Corporation/Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corporation in Agusan del Sur Province.
The production volume and value of silver grew by 29 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from 23,005 kilograms at P616.44 million to 29,780 kilograms at P647.02 million.
Nickel, copper, chromite, and iron ore suffered setbacks both in production volume and value, as base metals are always vulnerable to global economic conditions.
China, which consumed more metals than any nation over the past 10 years, has been reducing its demand for base metals. China has been the major market for Philippine nickel, copper, chromite, and iron ore.