NICKEL Asia Corp. (NAC) said on Tuesday that the estimated value of shipments in the first nine months of the year rose by 16 percent to P11.65 billion driven by higher ore prices combined with a weaker peso exchange rate.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, NAC said the estimated realized nickel price on 7.97 million wet metric tons (WMT) averaged $24.35 per WMT, significantly higher than the average $19.37 per WMT posted in the same period last year.
During the nine months, NAC realized an average $4.49 per pound of payable nickel on 6.27 million WMT of low-grade limonite ore sold to the Coral Bay and Taganito processing plants, versus an average price of $4.19 per pound of payable nickel on 5.44 million WMT sold in 2016.
NAC said its Taganito mine accounted for 44 percent of total shipments during the period. The mine shipped a total of 2.66 million WMT of saprolite ore and delivered 3.62 million WMT of limonite ore to the Taganito HPAL (high-pressure acid leach) plant, compared with 2.13 million WMT of saprolite ore and 2.82 million WMT of limonite ore delivered last year.
The Rio Tuba mine accounted for 31 percent of total shipments, consisting of 1.58 million WMT of saprolite ore and 2.82 million WMT of limonite ore, including 2.65 million WMT of ore delivered to the Coral Bay HPAL.
NAC’s Hinatuan and Cagdianao mines saw lower shipment volumes due to the late start of shipments this year caused by heavy rains. Total shipments of Hinatuan were 2.03 million WMT compared to 2.22 million WMT in 2016, while the Cagdianao mine recorded 1.52 million WMT versus 1.69 million WMT last year.
On an aggregate basis, the company sold 14.24 million WMT of nickel ore from its four operating mines during the first nine months of 2017 compared to 15.18 million WMT achieved the previous year.
The realized peso-US dollar exchange rate for ore sales was P50.29 compared to P46.89 in the same period last year.
“Improved prices was more than enough to offset slightly lower shipments experienced during the last nine months of the year,” said Gerard S. Brimo, president and CEO of the company.
“We see strong support for prices at current levels, as global demand for commodities, including nickel, continue to improve,” Brimo added.