By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The country’s metal output was valued higher at ₱99.58 billion during the first half of the year, while almost all mineral commodities registered slightly higher output during the period except nickel.
“Generally, mine output was sluggish during the period, as most nickel mines reported production shortfall. Not to mention, those mining operations that are still under care and maintenance program and suspended status,” said Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
The latest MGB data showed that the country’s metallic production value managed to pull a growth of 6.5 percent, or ₱6.09 billion, from the ₱93.48 billion booked during the first three quarters of 2018 to ₱99.58 billion during the same period this year.
This, as gold, silver, and copper all increased their contribution to the total output.
MGB said that gold contributed 37 percent or ₱36.90 billion to the total metals output during the period, while copper shared 14 percent or ₱14.40 billion. The remaining 1 percent was accounted for by silver and chromite with ₱0.9 billion.
Nickel direct shipping ore, considering the Philippines is one of the top nickel-producing countries in the world, contributed only 48 percent to the total metals produced in the country during the period. That amounts to ₱47.36 billion, dragged by lower price and output.
So in terms of metal prices, nickel, copper and silver all went down, with the exception of gold, which rose by as much as US$79.72 from US$1,283.27 per troy ounce in 2018 to US$1,362.99 per troy ounce in 2019.
To be specific, the nine-month average of copper and nickel declined by 9.45 percent and 1.31 percent, respectively. Copper price dropped from US$3.00 per pound to US$2.72 per pound year-on-year. Nickel, likewise, slipped from US$6.13 per pound to US$6.05 per pound year-on-year.
“It is important to note, however, that the price of nickel has been going up from July to September 2019. In September alone, price was at US$8.01 per pound,” MGB said.
During the period, nickel direct shipping ore ended at 21.51 million dry metric ton (DMT) from January to September, falling by 3 percent from the 24.49 million MT recorded in the same period in 2018.
“All things considered, the poor base metal prices of nickel and copper during the review period coupled with the continued none production of a number of nickel mines located in the provinces of Zambales, Dinagat Island and Agusan del Norte in a way stalled the growth of the metallic sector,” MGB said.