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DENR Pushes for a $27.5-M Green Cooling Tech Project

by Abe Almirol - June 11, 2021

Photo Credit: DW

In a bid to tighten national policy against ozone depleting substances (ODS), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) initiated a big leap towards cleaner technology among industries using cold chain facilities. The environmental agency wants the Philippine government to promote low carbon, energy efficient systems to eliminate the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons or HCFC in industries requiring heavy use of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.

Cold chain covers every product that needs cooling from the farmgate to the dining table, including aspects such as transport, storage, transformation, and packaging. So far, sectors dependent on cold chains are the biggest users of ODS.

The Global Partnership for Improving the Food Cold Chain in the Philippines (GPI-FCCP), a project which got a $27.5 million funding from the Global Environmental Facility, shall carry out a strategic positioning of environment-friendly cold chain technology across the country.

“Refrigeration systems for transporting goods in the food industry will no longer use ODS-HCFC. Stringent policies are important in providing a stable investment environment for investors in ‘green’ cooling technologies,” the DENR said in a statement.

The new policies will affect national standards for flammable refrigerants and energy efficiency. GPI-FCCP will also initiate a high-level training for fifty (50) local engineers, system suppliers, and end-users on the use of innovative cold chain technology that are currently used globally.

Stakeholders’ participation

As a project assisted by the international funder Global Environment Facility (GEF), the GPI-FCCP also includes the training of two hundred (200) key stakeholders on energy-efficiency and climate-friendly cold chain technologies. These trained stakeholders shall serve as champions in the advocacy to popularize new technologies replacing ODS-HCFCs.

The major implementers of the GPI-FCCP are the DENR and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The German international cooperation agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) also serves as a co-financer of the project.

Agricultural commodities such as meat, dairy, fish, and a broad range of vegetable crops need cooling and freezing systems while in transit, during storage, and at the display shelves.

Traditional practices using natural cooling could be seen during harvest times in most farms in the Philippines. The lack of access to refrigerated transportation vehicles taught farmers in Northern Luzon that it is best to transport vegetable products to Metro Manila at night, where heat is lesser, and traffic is lighter.

Some known HFC and HCFC alternatives used in Europe include R32 refrigerants tested to have lower global warming potential (GWP), Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), and HFC-HFO blends.

A European expert said there is no “cure all” alternative because there are varied safety and thermodynamic properties among refrigerants. Some alternatives do no work well in certain types of products and equipment. Also, geographical locations may affect the efficiency and effectivity of each kind of alternative.

PH compliance to the Montreal Protocol

DENR said the green cold chain project came about as part of the country’s compliance to its commitment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of ODS.

The ozone is the earth’s protective layer, absorbing UV light which reduces human’s exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation, said to be the leading cause of skin cancer and cataract.

“ODS includes chlorofluorocarbons, halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, hydrobromofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), methyl bromide, and bromochloromethane,” DENR explained.

Refrigeration technologies have come out as top concern due to low energy efficiency and high global warming potential. Common refrigerants extensively use HCFCs.

The Montreal Protocol compelled signatory countries to freeze consumption and production of the ODS-HCFCs. The treaty also called on developing countries to cut by 100% their HCFC production by 2030.

Private sector engagement will be crucial in the Philippines’ effort in obtaining knowledge transfer of the most innovative, climate friendly, and energy efficient refrigeration technologies, the DENR said.



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Mining

Jimbo Gulle - June 09, 2021

New Policy Sets Mining Exploration Period's Automatic Renew

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is targeting to facilitate the continuity of mining exploration projects in the country, the Philippine News Agency reported June 9. A still-unnumbered and soon-to-be-published DENR Administrative Order (DAO) will provide guidelines for automatic renewal of the exploration period covering such projects and timely declaration of mining project feasibility under various mining tenements, noted Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Mining Tenements Management Division OIC chief Danilo Deleña. He said the DAO will cover all exploration permits and mineral production sharing agreements, financial or technical assistance agreements, and other similar mining tenements under the exploration stage. "That DAO's issuance aims to ensure continuous conduct of exploration activities by all permittees, contractors and other holders of mining tenements,' he said Tuesday during the virtual MGB stakeholders' forum on government mining policies. The existing renewal process is for parties concerned to submit all required documents and pay the renewal fee so MGB can evaluate their applications and approve these if justified, he noted. He said MGB has been studying how to facilitate the process as several mining stakeholders already clamored for this, citing difficulty in complying with renewal requirements. "The DAO answers their clamor," he said. Such DAO will still require mining stakeholders concerned to pay the renewal fee and MGB to review their applications, he added. Unlike the existing renewal process, he said documentary requirements in the DAO are minimal but stakeholders must submit these 60 days before their respective exploration periods expire. "If all's well with their applications, they'll be automatically renewed," he said. According to Deleña, preparations are already underway for the DAO's publication in a newspaper of general circulation and submission to the University of the Philippines Office of the National Administrative Register. "We're hoping to have the DAO published in a few days," he said. MGB said of the Philippines' total land area of 30 million hectares, some nine million hectares have high mineral potential. However, only 2.42 percent of the country's total land area was covered by mining tenements as of May 31, 2020, noted MGB. The country's primary mineral commodities are gold, nickel and nickel products as well as copper, MGB said. Available MGB data showed mining contributed some PHP102.3 billion to the country's gross domestic product last year. National and local taxes, fees, and royalties from mining totaled PHP25.52 billion during the said period, MGB added.

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Philippine Resources - August 03, 2021

OceanaGold Provides Didipio Update and Q2 2021 Financial Results

OceanaGold Corporation reported its financial and operational results for the quarter ended June 30, 2021. Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said, “I am very pleased with the operational and financial performance of the business in the second quarter 2021. Haile delivered a record quarter of gold production and is well on-track to deliver on the full year production guidance. Waihi plant upgrades were completed, and we 2 commenced continuous milling late in the second quarter which is a tremendous outcome as we continue to ramp-up underground operations.” “Based on year-to-date performance we have refined our expectations for the full year. We currently expect consolidated production of 350,000 to 370,000 gold ounces at AISC of $1,200 to $1,250 per gold ounce sold at cash costs of $825 to $875 per ounce sold. Strong first half performance at Haile has put us firmly on track to deliver ahead of 160,000 gold ounces for the full year at moderately higher AISC, largely driven by an increased proportion of mining costs capitalised as pre-strip plus higher than expected mining costs incurred. On the other hand, a softer first half at Macraes is driving production to the lower end of guidance of 155,000 to 165,000 gold ounces for the full year at consequently higher AISC. Waihi is firmly on-track and production guidance remains unchanged but at improved costs. We expect to provide updated consolidated guidance in-line with the staged restart of Didipio over the coming weeks.” “Renewal of the FTAA at Didipio was one of our key priorities this year, and I’m extremely proud to say we delivered. The staged restart of the asset is underway with the current focus on the rehire and training of our skilled Philippine workforce. We expect to restart processing well prior to year-end, initially sourcing mill feed from existing stockpiles at site. Our expectation is to also transport and sell approximately 18,500 gold ounces and 3,500 tonnes of copper in concentrate on site by early fourth quarter. The rehire and retraining of the workforce, as well as the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, could impact the timeline associated with returning to full underground production of 1.6Mtpa, which could take up to 12 months. Operations In the first half of the year, the Company produced 177,039 ounces of gold, a 27% increase over the same period in 2020 due to record production at Haile in the second quarter, resumption of campaign processing at Waihi, and limited impacts from COVID-19. Second quarter gold production of 93,848 ounces of gold reflects record production at Haile of 57,240 ounces. Consolidated AISC of $1,227 per ounce sold YTD and $1,226 per ounce sold in the second quarter were relatively flat over the prior year and previous quarter. Cash costs for the first half of the year of $734 per gold ounce and $764 per ounce in the second quarter, decreased 22% and 11%, respectively. The improvement in cash costs primarily reflects lower operating costs at Haile from productivity improvements made year-over-year Haile, USA Haile delivered a record second quarter of 57,240 gold ounces resulting in 101,581 gold ounces produced in the first half of the year. AISC and cash costs improved significantly, benefitting from higher gold sales and lower overall cash costs from productivity improvements. AISC and cash costs for the second quarter were $922 and $615 per ounce, a decrease of 7% and 22%, respectively, quarter-on-quarter. YTD AISC and cash costs were $953 per ounce and $684 per ounce, respectively, down approximately 36% over the prior year period. Unit mining and milling cost decreased quarter-on-quarter, and increased 9% and 36%, respectively, YTD over the prior year period. Second quarter decreases reflect lower maintenance activities on the mining fleet and higher mill feed following milling disruptions from the first quarter; YTD increases are attributable to higher maintenance costs and an unplanned mill disruption from blocked crusher chutes in the first quarter that have since been resolved. The decrease in site G&A quarter-on-quarter reflects the increase mill feed and lower costs during the period. Confirmed COVID-19 cases at site increased from 111 at the end of the first quarter to 120 by the end of the second quarter, a decrease in positive cases from 48 in the first quarter to nine in the second quarter. Looking ahead, the Company expects to transition to ore mining of lower grades at Ledbetter Phase 1 and commence stripping of Ledbetter Phase 2, resulting in materially lower production and higher AISC in the second half of this year. The Company has refined its full year production guidance for Haile to 160,000 to 170,000 gold ounces at site AISC of $1,100 to $1,150 per ounce sold, including cash costs of $850 to $900 per ounce sold. The higher AISC and cash costs reflect higher mining costs incurred plus incremental sustaining capital expenditures related to open pit pre-stripping. Waihi, New Zealand Waihi produced 3,939 gold ounces in the second quarter and 8,276 gold ounces YTD. Second quarter activities at Waihi primarily focussed on the development of Martha Underground and replacement of the semi-autogenous grinding (“SAG”) mill. Approximately 2,665 metres of underground development were completed during the second quarter and 5,210 metres YTD. Sustained milling recommenced in late June following the successful replacement of Waihi’s SAG mill. AISC and cash costs for the second quarter were $1,223 and $1,215 per ounce sold, respectively, and increased quarter-on-quarter with higher operating costs associated with limited early production, partly offset by moderately higher gold sales. YTD AISC and cash costs were $1,099 per ounce and $976 per ounce, respectively, increases over the prior year period with the ramp-up of production at Martha Underground as expected. Unit mining costs were relatively unchanged quarter-on-quarter with mining of narrow vein ore at Correnso and early production from Martha Underground in both quarters. YTD mining costs reflect early production from Martha Underground relative to the prior year. Processing cost and site G&A increases in the second quarter reflect the planned shutdown for replacement of the SAG mill and resultant lower mill feed. Lower site G&A YTD over the prior year reflects normal operations relative to 2020 which included impacts from COVID-19-related shutdowns. Full year 2021 production guidance at Waihi remains unchanged while cost guidance has improved. The Company expects to produce 35,000 to 45,000 ounces at lower gold cash cost of $900 to $950 per ounce and site AISC of $1,300 to $1,350 per ounce sold. The Company anticipates ramp-up of production over the course of the second half with the highest quarter of production for the year expected in the fourth quarter. Macraes, New Zealand Macraes produced 32,669 gold ounces in the second quarter and 67,182 gold ounces in the first half of 2021. Lower than expected production in the second quarter reflects geotechnical impacts at the Coronation North open pit that slowed mining rates reducing access to higher grade ore zones, as well as a delayed re-start from the planned shut during the quarter to address out-of-scope maintenance requirements Second quarter AISC and cash costs were $1,524 and $897 per ounces sold, respectively. YTD AISC and cash costs were $1,428 and $857 per ounce sold, respectively. Cash costs increased approximately 10% quarter-onquarter and YTD over the prior year period, reflecting the lower ounces, a net drawdown in inventory and additional contractor costs to fill workforce vacancies. Similar increases in AISC also reflect the higher sustaining capital spend related to increased pre-stripping at Deepdell North and waste movements in the quarter and first half. Unit mining costs were 6% and 28% higher quarter-on-quarter and YTD over the prior year period, respectively, as a result of reduced trucking productivity from inclement weather which saturated haul roads, flooded active open pit mining areas, and rendered the underground inaccessible for a two-week period in the first quarter. Mining efforts were subsequently re-directed to increased waste mining and pre-stripping at Deepdell North open pit through the first half. Processing unit costs also increased over comparable periods, reflecting the one-off mill motor outage in the first quarter and extended mill shutdown during the second quarter. Due to the lower-than-expected production in the first half, the Company expects Macraes full year production to be in the lower end of the guidance range of 155,000 to 165,000 gold ounces at cash costs of $800 to $850 per ounce and increased site AISC to $1,200 to $1,250 per ounce sold over the full year, primarily driven by increased sustaining capital spend related to pre-stripping at Deepdell North and additional underground development. Production is still expected to increase in the third quarter and be higher overall in the fourth quarter of 2021. Didipio, Philippines There was no production from Didipio in the second quarter and first half due to the suspension of operations. The Company expensed $5.5 million in the second quarter and $10.0 million YTD of holding costs as part of consolidated Corporate General and Administration, which relates to maintaining Didipio in a state of operational standby. Subsequent to second quarter end, the Government of the Philippines renewed the Didipio FTAA for a further 25 years. The Company’s primary focus is the safe and responsible start-up of operations, which includes recruitment and training of the workforce and the transport of approximately 15,000 tonnes of copper-gold concentrate produced prior to the shutdown of operations. The Company expects to progressively ramp-up to full underground mining rates of 1.6 Mtpa within the next twelve months, depending on workforce rehiring and recruitment efforts. Ore from the underground will incrementally and steadily offset mill feed from stockpiled ore of which there is currently 19 million tonnes. Since March 2020, 72 positive COVID-19 cases have been managed at Didipio, 63 of which occurred in the second quarter of 2021. The Company experienced a significant increase in COVID-19-positive cases early in the second quarter, consistent with the spread of COVID-19 in the local and surrounding communities. The site continues to follow strict health and safety protocols to prevent the ongoing transmission of the virus at site. Financial In the first half of the year, the Company generated $331.5 million in revenue, a 42% increase from the prior year period due to record production at Haile, improved average gold price and early production at Waihi with the development of Martha Underground. Quarter-on-quarter revenue increased 23% with record production from Haile, partly offset by lower sales from Macraes where production was impacted by geotechnical issues that rendered higher grade ore zones of the open pit inaccessible. First half adjusted EBITDA (excluding Didipio carrying costs) of $161.9 million nearly tripled year-on-year, reflecting improved revenues on higher gold prices and record production at Haile at improved cash costs, as compared to the first half of 2020 which included impacts related to COVID-19 shutdowns. Quarter-on-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $95.4 million increased 43%, benefitting from record production at Haile at improved operating costs, partly offset by lower sales from Macraes. Adjusted net profit was $36.9 million or $0.05 per share on a fully diluted basis in the second quarter and $58.7 million or $0.08 per share on a fully diluted basis YTD. The quarter-on-quarter and year-over-year increases were mainly a function of the higher revenue from increased sales volumes. The increases were partly offset by income tax expense of $15.8 million in the second quarter and $21.5 million YTD due to the operational profits in the USA and New Zealand. Additionally, there were no potential tax benefits recognised associated with the costs incurred to maintain Didipio in a state of operational readiness. Operating cash flows YTD were $83.4 million, a decrease year-over-year given the $79.0 million received from the gold presale in the first quarter of 2020. Excluding working capital adjustments, fully-diluted cash flow per share was $0.22 YTD and $0.13 for the second quarter. First half investing cash flows of $152.8 million were significantly higher than the prior year period, primarily due to higher growth capital expenditures at Haile related to the expansion of waste storage facilities, increased prestripping at Macraes and the ongoing development of Martha Underground at Waihi. As at June 30, 2021, the Company’s cash balance stood at $92.3 million, and net debt increased quarter-onquarter to $224.8 million, mainly reflecting the lower cash balance. The Company’s total debt facilities stood at $250 million of which $50 million remains undrawn as at 30 June 2021.

Mining

Philippine Resources - August 02, 2021

Lawmaker Renews Call for Mining Tax Regime, Trust Fund During National Confab of Mining Stakeholders

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has called for the passage of the proposed fiscal regime for the mining industry, saying the industry is a potential job creator in the post-COVID future. Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, emphasized the natural wealth potential of the Philippines, but observed "key deficiencies in the country’s extractive industry governance framework," some of which can be resolved by a “coherent tax regime.” “The country is the fifth most mineral-rich country in the world for gold, nickel, copper, and chromite. It is also home to the largest copper-gold deposit in the world. Estimates suggest that up to 840 billion dollars of untapped mineral wealth is in Philippine soil,” Salceda said in his keynote speech during the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) National Conference on Thursday. “This is not to mention the 17.1 billion barrels of oil deposits that China’s Ministry of Geology and Mineral Resources estimates to be in the Spratlys, or the 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that the US Energy Information Administration believes to be in the area. “These resources, if extracted and managed properly, could make the Philippines one of the richest countries in the world,” Salceda added. Salceda noted that although the issuance of Executive Order 130, amending Section 4 of Executive Order No. 79 s. 2012, lifted the moratorium imposed by the latter on new mining agreements, the Executive Order still has areas for improvement. “First, neither Congress nor the Department of Finance, the country’s fiscal policymakers and fiscal administrators respectively, are given a specific role in this process by the new EO,” Salceda said. Salceda also observed that the EO delegates some powers that are not supported by law, including the power of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to negotiate tax agreements with miners. Salceda also said it is the DOF that has the experience in financial management and should therefore negotiate revenue sharing agreements on the government’s behalf. Salceda, however, emphasized the high potential of the mining sector post-pandemic. “As the world shifts towards electric-powered transport, and as the digital economy continues its ascent, the global economy will require more minerals, especially nickel and copper, which we abound in. Nickel prices are once again in 5-year high levels. So is copper and cobalt, elements needed for e-vehicle batteries,” Salceda said. “Regardless of the grade of minerals we produce, demand is high across the board. It can only mean well for our mining industry’s bottom lines in the medium-term,” Salceda added. Salceda stressed the revenue-generating potential of the industry if a tax regime is enacted. “The tax revenues are also crucial for economic recovery. The proposed regime will generate P7.2 billion in incremental revenues on the first year and P37.9 billion over the next 5 years. These are closed-group estimates. “They are probably conservative, as more mining agreements are made and as mineral prices continue to boom. So, these revenues will play an important role in helping stabilize our fiscal situation,” Salceda said. The industry could create well-paying jobs post-pandemic but stressed the need for a mining trust fund supported by tax revenues from mining as a “rainy day fund” for when mineral prices are low. “Of course, that’s [high prices] not forever. Manufacturers will find ways to reduce metallic content when the metals get too expensive. When that happens, prices will inevitably fall. We must be ready. The tax regime is not everything, but it’s a necessary step we cannot skip,” Salceda said.

Mining

Philippine Resources - August 02, 2021

Philex Delivers PHP1.149B Core Net Income in 1H2021, An Increase of 186% Compared with 1H2020

Photo Credit: Redjie Melvic Cawis Philex Mining Corporation announced that the Company achieved another new high in its revenues and core net income for 2Q2021. Philex recorded a Core Net Income of Php610 million for the 2nd quarter. In addition to the Php540 million core net income it already recorded in 1Q2021, Philex registered a new high core net income for the first half of the year at Php1.149 billion. Satisfactory execution of the mining plan resulted in sustained level of metal output, and optimum operating cost and expenses delivered the higher core net income for the quarter and year-todate ended June 30, 2021. The Company reported a Net Income of Php600 million for 2Q2021 versus the reported Net Income of Php322 million for the same period in 2020, an 86% increase. Production and Revenues The Company milled slightly lower tonnage than the first quarter of 2021 resulting in slightly lower copper output for 2Q2021. Despite the slightly lower copper output, the Company generated higher revenues for 2Q2021 at Php2.377 billion, higher by 21% over the same period in 2020. This brings 1H2021 revenues to Php4.747 billion, ahead by 29% over the same period in 2020, with revenues only at Php3.680 billion. The higher revenues are due mainly to the sustained higher realized metal prices for both Gold and Copper at $1,807 per ounce and $4.21 per pound, respectively. The satisfactory execution of the mining plan and mill operations resulted in the production of 13,612 ounces of Gold and 6.435 million pounds of Copper for 2Q2021, bringing the 1H2021 total metal output at 27,025 ounces of Gold and 13.205 million pounds of Copper. Operating Costs and Expenses Core and Net Income Operating costs and expenses for 2Q2021 at Php1.593 billion are higher than those of 2Q2020 at Php1.552 billion due to slightly higher production expenses and higher excise taxes and royalties attributable to higher revenues. The slight increase was tempered by lower non-cash production costs in 2Q2021 amounting to Php271 million compared with non-cash production costs in 2Q2020 amounting to Php330 million. This brings the 1H2021 operating costs and expenses to P3.240 billion, higher by Php136 million compared with 1H2020. The increase is attributable to increasing production cost brought about by the effects of the pandemic to the supply chain, including logistics and Covid-19 response undertaken by the Company. Reported Net Income for 2Q2021 increased by 86% to Php600 million from Php322 million in 2Q2020 This brings the Company’s 1H2021 reported Net Income to Php1.159 billion from Php425 million of 1H2020. Core Net Income for 2Q2021 reached Php610 million to close the 1H2021 Core Net Income at Php1.149 billion, higher by 186% versus the Core Net Income of Php402 million in 1H2020. The Company generated EBITDA of Php1.016 billion for the 2Q2021 versus Php708 million in 2Q2020, a 44% increase. This brings the 1H2021 EBITDA to Php2.027 billion versus Php1.127 billion in 1H2020, an increase of 80% COVID 2019 Despite our strict implementation of the IATF-DOH mandated health protocols, the Company was not spared by the spread of the Covid19 virus. Several employees and their dependents were infected by the virus but the infection was immediately contained, preventing widespread transmission, and ensuring the continued operation of both the mine and mill plant. The Company adopted and implemented regular surveillance and contact tracing activities to further strengthen its defense against any transmission to its employees and their dependents. Silangan Project The Board of Directors of Philex has approved the In-Phase development of Silangan and the Company will be appointing a financial advisor to assist in the fund raising that will commence as soon as practicable. With the In-Phase development of Silangan, the capital expenditure requirement will be made in stages, and can be funded from a variety of potential resources including internally-generated cash and potentially through equity and debt from investors and creditors. The Company is confident that Silangan development will start by Q22022 with the target of commencing commercial operations in January 2025. “We will be working with our financial advisor to immediately implement the fund raising activity for the InPhase development of Silangan. We believe that the recent government pronouncements related to the mining industry will increase the level of interest and confidence of investors and lenders to mining companies. The launch of Silangan will be very timely.”, emphasized Eulalio B Austin, Jr, Philex President and CEO. “The global outlook for metal prices continue to be positive and Philex is poised to benefit as we emphasize on excellent execution of plans in light of the current volatile environment brought about by this pandemic. In the next couple of months, we set to launch our Silangan Project under an In-Phase Development approach. Silangan will be an exciting project for Philex.”, concluded Manuel V. Pangilinan, Philex Chairman.   Article Courtesy of The Philippine Stock Exchange

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