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Nickel Prices are Forecast to Fall in 2021, According to Fitch Solutions

by Philippine Resources - March 19, 2021

The costs of nickel is expected to fall in 2021 as more supply enters the market but will be supported by recovering economies, according to Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research.

Fitch Solutions raised its average nickel ore price estimate for 2021 from $15,250 to $15,750 per ton in a survey.

“Prices over the past few months have progressed to multi-year highs on the back of increased optimism in the market, a weakening dollar and bullish expectations about nickel supply,” Fitch Solutions said.

The current nickel price is about $18,180 per ton, according to Fitch Solutions, but it will fall as supply in key markets increases.

“The end of the rainy season in the Philippines will allow the resumption of nickel mining activity to feed nickel pig iron (NPI) facilities in China, its dominant nickel ore trading partner,” Fitch Solutions said. “We are maintaining our bearish outlook on prices in 2021 compared with the year-to-date average of $18,140 per ton as increasing supply over the year reduces the market deficit, maintaining lower prices.”

Nickel prices are expected to rise gradually in the long run, according to Fitch Solutions, as the global market remains undersupplied.

Demand is expected to remain stable due to continued growth in China's domestic construction and auto manufacturing industries, according to the study.

“We forecast China’s construction sector to grow by an average of 3.8% year on year over 2021-2029 while vehicle production grows by an average of 1.2% over the same period. The rise in demand will exceed production growth in the short term, underpinning a prolonged deficit in the market and push prices higher,” Fitch Solutions said.

According to Fitch Solutions, the electric vehicle (EV) market would raise nickel demand due to the need for longer-range batteries.

“We expect this trend to begin taking hold over the coming years as consumers favour EVs with longer driving distance capabilities before recharging, making nickel-based battery compositions the optimal choice for vehicle producers,” Fitch Solutions said.

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Chairman Gerard H. Brimo said that policy changes that allow the Philippines to service demand from electric vehicle battery makers could help the industry.

“While the Philippines is a top nickel ore producer, we only have two processing plants that produce nickel and cobalt sulfide concentrates — intermediate products that are further processed in Japan to make electric vehicle (EV) batteries,” he said.

According to him, the two plants are run by Coral Bay Nickel Corp. in Palawan and Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. in Surigao del Sur.

“To enable our country to become a fully integrated EV battery supplier, certain policy changes have to be made, among them the lifting of the moratorium on new mining projects that has been in place for nearly a decade,” he said. “The industry needs full government support in terms of stable mining and investment policies that do not change mid-stream,” he added.

According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the volume of the metallic mining industry's production in 2020 increased 1.13 per cent year on year to P132.21 billion (MGB).

Nickel ore and by-products accounted for 51.8 per cent of the total, or P68.48 billion, according to the MGB. The amount of direct-shipping nickel ore — the type in which the metal is shipped for processing overseas — increased by 3.3 per cent to 333,962 metric tons year on year (MT).

Meanwhile, mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide production dropped 2.9 per cent to 49,647 MT year over year.



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Philippine Resources - March 16, 2021

Income of Nickel Asia Up 52%

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Philippine Resources - March 11, 2021

CMC and RTNMC Awarded PMIEA

The Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA) has been awarded to Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC), based in Valencia, in Dinagat Islands, and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. (RTNMC), based in Bataraza in Palawan, for outstanding initiatives in the pursuit of excellence in environmental management. CMC and RTNMC are subsidiaries of NAC, the country’s largest nickel supplier. “The award for 2020 is made more significant because of the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19. Our employees had to exert double efforts and had to sacrifice personal time in order to achieve our goals, to ensure 100 per cent implementation of our commitments to all our stakeholders in the mining communities” explained Engr. Arnilo C. Milaor, Resident Mine Manager at CMC. Last year, the Dinagat-based company also received the Presidential Award.  “The improved living conditions in the mining areas are proof of our commitment to the communities. One outstanding CMC project for example is the 19.2-kilometre farm-to-market road worth P12 Million pesos, connecting 5 barangays from 2 municipalities to the main provincial road, effectively providing the residents access to basic services like the hospital, and, most importantly, efficient access to trade and commerce,” said Engr. Aloysius C. Diaz, NAC VP for Operations. Rio Tuba Nickel has never stopped its operations and has won the Presidential Award 4 times – 2002, 2015, 2018, and 2020. “With strict enforcement of preventive measures against COVID-19 to protect employees and our host communities, we did not have work stoppage with no recorded-case of infection within the mine site, and, most significantly, we did not lay-off any worker” shared Engr. Cynthia E. Rosero, RTN’s Resident Mine Manager. According to Environmental Planner, Janice M. Tupas, Manager of the Mines Environmental Protection and Enhancement Dept. (MEPED) of RTN, “The qualifiers or applicants for the PMIEA must achieve a final rating of more than 95%. There are significant points also for ‘no unresolved notice of violations’; ‘compliance to operational and legal obligations, and no fatal work-related accidents.”

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Philippine Resources - March 23, 2021

Nickel Asia is the First Filipino Mining Company Welcomed into UNGC

Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) is pleased to announce that it is the first mining firm in the Philippines to be recognized as one of the United Nations Global Compact's newest members (UNGC). UNGC, the world's largest sustainability initiative, "supports worldwide businesses committed to responsible business practices in the fields of human rights, labour, the environment, and corruption," according to its website. UNGC was officially opened in New York in 2000 and is based on a set of principles that the UN believes must be pursued in order for a business to fulfil its environmental and social obligations. NAC has promised to follow these principles since signing the compact willingly. “This is a huge deal for all of us at NAC because it effectively binds us to the proverbial umbilical cord of what UNGC represents to the world,” said Dennis Zamora, President and CEO of NAC. Zamora, the mining industry's youngest President and CEO, and the son of mining legend Manny G. Zamora, the company's founder, recently took over from Gerry H. Brimo, the current Chairman of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP). NAC had to disclose its value system and approach to doing business in the communities to UNGC in order to be deemed a member. NAC also had to explain how its relationships with all of its stakeholders are the true stories behind its best mining practices. UNGC highlights that “member companies of the UN Global Compact are expected to act in environmentally responsible ways with regard to climate change, water and sanitation, energy, biodiversity, and food and agriculture. They are also expected to recognize the link between environmental issues, and social and development priorities”.  The standard operating processes of all of the mining firms under the NAC umbrella have long been setting the stage for UNGC membership, according to JB Baylon, NAC VP for Corporate Communications. “The UNGC principles have been integrated into our corporate strategies and day-to-day operations and our membership to this global pact expose the NAC companies to a more intense peer review which in effect will be beneficial to the industry as a whole because, as you see, mining continues to fight in the reputation category and UNGC will help demonstrate our track record as we publicly report on how effectively we manage the environment, social and governance issues,” Baylon elaborated.  Responsible mining firms, such as NAC, have taken it upon themselves to commit to sustainable business strategies in all areas of activities by promoting inclusive, fair, and impactful initiatives that foster lifelong opportunities in mining communities.

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Philippine Resources - April 06, 2021

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Philippine Resources - April 06, 2021

Forecasts for PH Development in 2021 Have Been Reduced

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Philippine Resources - April 06, 2021

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