The country’s nickel output for this year will likely go down due to unexpected weather disturbances and some logistical issues, said a top official from the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA).

During the launch of the PNIA’s first Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) report, PNIA President Dante R. Bravo said that as much as there is high demand for nickel, the country’s full-year output for this metallic product will slightly go down by 10 percent from 27.17 million dry metric tons (DMT) in 2020 to nearly 25 million DMT.

Last year, despite the pandemic, the country produced higher nickel output compared to 2019’s total production of 26.21 million DMT.

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“Our nickel production is hampered by two things, including the weather. There has been a lot of rains, which is something that we haven’t seen before. Our operations are down 10 percent of our target because of weather disturbances,” Bravo, who also serves as the president of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc., the country’s second-largest nickel ore producer, told reporters.

“There’s also a limitation in incoming vessels [that are used to deliver the nickel to export markets]. There is a shortage in vessels. The production would be less overall,” he further said.

China, the world’s largest stainless steel and electric vehicle (e-vehicle) producer, is the Philippines’ largest market for raw nickel.

Bravo said that despite lower output, the country’s nickel output will still be valued higher as prices remain high amid the continuously rising demand coming from China.

“In terms of value, it’s going to be higher than the previous years. We’ve seen prices growing up steadily since the start of this year,” Bravo said. “Hopefully, the volume will increase next year if the weather is good”.

Established in 2019, PNIA is a group of nickel mining companies in the Philippines that contributes 40 percent nickel exports of the Philippines.

The group is now composed of seven mining companies, namely Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Carrascal Nickel Corp., Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation, CTP Construction and Mining Corporation, DMCI Mining Corporation, Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC), and Marcventures Holdings Inc., and other affiliate members.

During the first six months of the year, gold and nickel accounted for most of the country’s mineral production. In terms of contribution, nickel, together with its nickel products, accounted for 53.44 percent or P36.68 billion of the country’s combined metallic production value, followed by gold with 34.84-percent share or P23.91 billion.

From January to June, nickel ore production volume particularly went up by 39 percent from 109,471 MT to 151,646 MT. This, while prices of nickel are at their sweetest at US$17,490.15 per MT from US$12,473.17 per MT, year-on-year, a considerable price difference of US$5,017 per MT.

On Wednesday, PNIA launched its first sustainability report entitled “Global Goals, Local Actions” where it reports the industry’s contribution for the year 2020 to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

The report underscores the industry’s social and economic contributions in the country consistent with the UN SDG global policy goals which are a policy framework aimed at achieving sustainable living for current and future generations.

The SDG report conveys that in 2020, PNIA members were able to contribute to 15 out of the 17 UN SDGs through direct and indirect economic impacts emphasizing the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) where they allocated P531.7 million in environmental restoration of mined areas, and for other environmental risk-mitigation projects.

Meanwhile, a total of P166.8 million was spent for Social Development Management Program (SDMP) which came in the form of jobs, livelihood trainings, food security programs and construction of structures like schools, churches, multi-purpose halls and handwashing facilities.

This highlights the member companies’ commitment to mitigate environmental risks while largely supporting life in the communities particularly during the pandemic.