The Philippines’ metallic mineral production surged by 37 percent as of the third quarter of last year driven by higher demand for nickel, copper and gold . the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said on Monday.
MGB Director Leo Jasareno said the country’s metallic production value reached P102.47 billion in July-September 2014 from P74.82 billion during the same period a year ago. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of growth.
Benefiting from Indonesia’s nickel ore export ban, local miners’ direct shipping of nickel ore and mixed nickel sulfides grew by 94 percent to P61.44 billion from P31.72 billion.
Attractive prices in the world market also helped pushed production levels. During the review period, nickel recorded the highest price in May at $8.74 per pound.
“The total value of nickel escalated as nickel price remained above the $8-per-pound level,” Jasareno said.
Direct shipping nickel ore and mixed nickel sulfides, which accounted for 59.96 percent of the total production value, reached P61.44 billion in the third quarter of 2014.
“Mixed nickel sulfides grew by 125 percent, from 27,862 dry metric tons in 2013 to 62,742 dry metric tons; while irect shipping nickel ore went up by 12 percent, from 20,728,362 dry metric tons in 2013 to 23,158,500 in 2014,” the MGB chief explained.
Gold came in distant second with a 23.15 percent share, or P23.73 billion, while copper came in third with a 15.78 percent contribution, or P16.17 billion.
The remaining 1.11 percent, or P1.13 billion came from the combined values of silver, zinc, iron ore and chromite. Iron ore from small-scale mining operations amounted to about P0.393 billion.
Jasareno attributed the upbeat showing of the metallic sector the good showing of major projects including the Cagdianao Nickel Project of Platinum Group Metals Corporation in Region 13, with P9.94 billion; Didipio Copper-Gold Project of OceanaGold Philippines Inc.
in Region 2 with P9.76 billion; and Padcal Copper-Gold Project of Philex Mining Corporation in Cordillera Administrative Region, with P8.16 billion.
Also contributing to the growth were the Toledo Copper Operations of Carmen Copper Corporation in Region 7, with P8.13 billion; and Taganito Nickel Project of Taganito Mining Corporation in Region 13, with P7.84 billion.
The increased production volumes from these mines cushioned the effects of the suspension of operations of four nickel mining firms in Zambales, as well as the closure of major copper mines in the country.
To recall, the MGB issued suspension order last July against Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation, Benguet Corporation Nickel Mines Inc., Eramen Minerals Incorporated, and LNL Archipelago Minerals, Incorporated because of environment-related issues.
While the 5 percent setback in the country’s copper mines was mainly due to the cessation of the mining operations of TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. and Rapu-Rapu Minerals Inc./Rapu-Rapu Processing Inc. Both operations ended due to the exhaustion of their respective reserves. In 2012 and 2013, both mining operations contributed about 26 percent and 22 percent to the total copper production, respectively.