DMCI Mining Corporation reported that it shipped 853,197 wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore from January to June, a 25 percent jump from 681,360 WMT compared to the same period last year.
In a disclosure, the firm said the marked increase was due to the resumption of its nickel production in Zambales through subsidiary Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC).
Accounting for 24 percent of the total shipment, ZDMC sold 202,440 WMT in the first half of the year. The company made no shipments during the same period in 2019.
Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC)—DMCI Mining’s nickel asset in Palawan—exported 650,757 WMT of nickel ore, a 4 percent decline year-on-year from 681,360 WMT.
In the second quarter alone, BNC and ZDMC shipped 321,966 WMT and 101,140 WMT, respectively.
“The Indonesian ban on nickel ore exports and easing of COVID-19 containment measures in May allowed us to sustain our production and shipments,” explained DMCI Mining president Cesar F. Simbulan.
He added that, “We also benefited from shifting market demand. Nine of our 16 shipments to China were for low-grade nickel ore, which was previously unsellable.”
The demand for low-grade nickel was driven by China’s sustained steel production during the first half of the year.
In addition to the Indonesian nickel ban, the coronavirus pandemic-induced trade restrictions pushed Chinese buyers to shift to low-grade nickel to support its raw material requirements. Nickel is primarily used for stainless steel production but demand for the metal is projected to increase in the coming years on the back of higher battery production for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.