LISTED mining firm Oriental Peninsula Resources Corp. said it is planning to increase its nickel ore export operations with a target of adding 20 more vessels for a total fleet of 30.
This is in line with the company’s vision to be aggressive in financially supporting its subsidiary Citinickel Mines and Development Corp.
In a financial report, Oriental said that based on current delineated reserve and demand for nickel in the world market, the parent company projects annual production of 1.5 million wet metric tons (WMT) and 2.5 million WMT for 2018 and 2019.
Nickel ore export destinations are China, Japan, and Australia, measured and computed in WMT.
“Operations will be limited to approximately 180 days per year, which corresponds to the projected dry season in Palawan,” Oriental Peninsula said.
For the first quarter of 2017, the company said it has managed to ship 10 vessels outside of the country — three vessels exported to Japan and seven to China.
Mining operations of its subsidiary Citinickel, however, remain suspended due to a suspension order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on July 22 last year through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
The company said the DENR maintained its suspension order on February 8, 2017.
“Citinickel is exerting all administrative and legal efforts to have the suspension order lifted, and is optimistic that the MGB shall reasonably appreciate the validity of the contentions of Citinickel that the suspension order shall be lifted at the soonest possible time,” the parent company said.
Citinickel filed a notice of appeal to the Office of the President on March 2, 2017, saying the group “believes that the suspension order has no basis and the outcome of legal actions taken will not have a material adverse effect on the group’s operations.”
Oriental said it is continually improving Citinickel’s mining facilities.
“Additional construction works, site development, exploration, and validation works are still on-going in relation to Citinickel’s mine site expansion.”
Ex-DENR chief Regina Lopez last year issued a circular calling for an audit on all mining firms.
Earlier this month, Citinickel filed a graft and administrative complaint against Lopez for supposedly imposing additional and “unreasonable” requirements to be able to get a Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP).