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Value of PH’s metals production falls 10% in first quarter

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The Philippines’ metals output and its value fell during the first quarter of this year – the first time it did in the span of two years – as COVID-19 pandemic restricted both the movement of workers and commodities even in the highly scrutinized mining sector.

A data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) showed that the country’s metallic production value dropped by 10.69 percent to ₱24.86 billion during the first quarter of this year from ₱27.84 billion recorded in the same period in 2019.

The last time the value of the country’s mineral production went down was during the first quarter of 2018 when lower mineral commodities dragged its total worth by 6.05 percent to ₱22.51 billion from ₱23.96 billion.

For this quarter, MGB said the lackluster performance of the sec¬tor was mainly due to the “disruption in the mining operations of mining projects throughout the country amid the COVID 19 pandemic where movements of people and supplies were restricted.”

The zero production of one of the country’s major mining op¬erators, OceanaGold Phils., Inc. (OGPI), also resulted to a huge blow in the sector, MGB said.

During the first quarter of last year, OGPI, whose operations in Nueva Vizcaya are now temporarily suspended, alone accounted for about ₱3.64 billion worth of copper, gold, and silver in total production.

Meanwhile, almost all mineral commodities – namely nickel direct shipping ore, gold, silver, copper, chromite – registered lower production during the first three months of this year.

In terms of contribution to the total metal mineral production value, precious metal gold led with an impressive share of 43 percent, or ₱10.66 billion, while direct-shipping nickel ore together with its nickel products, mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide (MNCS), and scandium oxalate closely took the second spot accounting for 41 per¬cent or ₱10.29 billion.

Copper followed with 15 percent share or ₱3.69 billion, while the combined output value of silver and chromite contributed 0.90 percent or ₱220 million.

To be specific, gold’s total production was down from 5,651 kilograms to 4,098 kilograms year-on-year, while nickel direct shipping ore’s production declined by 27 percent from 38,146 metric tons (MT) to 28,006 MT.

MGB said that out of the 29 listed operating nickel mines in the country, only 11 reported their metallic production while all the remaining 18 were either under Care and Maintenance Program or reported zero production due to unfavorable weather conditions particularly in Region XIII.

Copper, on the other hand, suffered production setback to 16,035 MT from 19,350 MT.

As early as March, Danto Bravo, president of Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), already said that his company, Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI), is anticipating a slowdown on its nickel ore shipments, particularly to China, because of the COVID-19 lockdown.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/05/27/value-of-phs-metals-production-falls-10-in-first-quarter/)

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