LISTED Nickel Asia Corp.’s net income increased to P3.54 billion in the first nine months of 2018 on the back of increased shipments of its valuable saprolite ore.
In a disclosure, the mining company said the amount was a 35-percent surge from P2.62 billion in the same period last year.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization also rose to P6.11 billion from P5.95 billion a year ago.
Nickel Asia attributed the growth to its increased focus “on shipments of its higher-value saprolite ore, a stronger US dollar and the increase in the company’s share of profits from its investment in both the Coral Bay and Taganito processing plants.”
Those profits jumped to P617 million from P21 million in January to September 2017.
“The improved results of the two plants were mainly driven by strong cobalt prices, a by-product of both plants, and the recovery in the LME nickel price,” it said.
In the first three quarters, the company sold an aggregate 15.55 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore, compared with 14.24 million WMT a year ago.
Of the volume, saprolite ore accounted for 8.55 million WMT, up from 7.31 WMT in 2017; and limonite ore made up the rest, compared with 6.92 million WMT in 2017.
The average price received for sales of the two ore types in the first nine months was $16.47 per WMT, 1.5-percent higher than year-ago’s $16.23 per WMT.
Total operating cash costs increased to P8.15 billion in the period from P6.19 billion.
“We are delighted at the company’s strong results for the first nine months of the year, despite the challenging nickel ore market,” said NAC President Martin G. Zamora said.
“Our ability to optimize ore export grades and the improved results of our investments in the two processing plants highlighted the period,” he added.
Nickel Asia is the country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore. It exports saprolite and limonite ore to Japan, China, and Australia. It also owns properties in various stages of exploration for nickel, while seeking opportunities in copper and gold.