Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI), the country’s second-largest nickel ore producer, saw its income going up by 19.4 percent to P1.86 billion during the first nine months of the year, compared with P1.56 billion during the same period last year.
For the third quarter alone, however, FNI’s income went down by 6 percent to P1.22 billion against the P1.36 billion it posted during the same period last year.
This, as the company’s sale of nickel ore for the nine months ending September 30, 2021 went down by 3.4 percent to 4.228 million wet metric tons (WMT), compared to 4.379 million WMT of nickel ore sold during the same period last year.
This is mainly due to bad weather conditions, which allowed FNI to only ship 78 vessels of nickel ore against the 80 vessels during the same period last year.
The resulting sales mix was 81 percent low-grade ore and 19 percent medium-grade ore in 2021, versus the previous period’s mix of 59 percent low-grade ore and 41 percent medium-grade ore.
These were exported 100 percent to China and consisted of 3.424 million WMT low-grade nickel ore and 0.804 million WMT medium-grade nickel ore compared to 2.588 million WMT low-grade nickel ore and 1.791 WMT medium-grade nickel ore for the same period in 2020.
“We are happy with the results. Despite the heavy rains hampering operations and more expensive fuel prices, the continued rise of nickel ore prices driven by the strong demand from China will augur well for the industry,” said FNI President Dante R. Bravo.
Overall, FNI’s revenues for the first nine months of the year are up 15.3 percent to P6.41 billion, compared to the P5.55 billion during the same period in 2020 buoyed by the higher prices of nickel ore.
The overall average realized nickel ore price for the period ended 30 September 2021 was $30.78 per WMT compared to $25.56 per WMT for the period ended 30 September 2020, higher by $5.22 per WMT or 20.4 percent.
The price of low-grade ore went up by 35.4 percent to $29.79 per WMT in 2021 against the 2020 price of $22.01 per WMT. Medium-grade ore, on the other hand, was $34.99 per WMT or 14.0 percent higher than the 2020 price of $30.69 per WMT.
In the latter part of October, Bravo said the country’s nickel output for this year will likely go down due to unexpected weather disturbances and some logistical issues.
Bravo, who also serves as the president of Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), said that as much as there is high demand for nickel, the country’s full-year output for this metallic product will still slightly go down by 10 percent from 27.17 million dry metric tons (DMT) in 2020 to nearly 25 million DMT this year.
“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 said.
“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 added.
China, the world’s largest stainless steel and electric vehicle (e-vehicle) producer, is the Philippines’ largest market for raw nickel.