Philippine Resources - September 20, 2021
OCEANAGOLD PROVIDES OPERATIONS UPDATE INCLUDING DIDIPIO RESTART
Photo credit: OceanaGold Scott Sullivan, Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief Executive Officer of OceanaGold said, “The recommencement of Didipio operations is progressing ahead of plan. The recruitment of the workforce is ahead of schedule as we expect approximately 65% of the total workforce to be in place by the end of the third quarter and approximately 90% by the end of the year. Training of the workforce is progressing well ahead of the restart of processing and mining activities expected in the fourth quarter. The health and safety of our employees and local communities is paramount and we continue to manage the ongoing risks and personnel impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.” He went on to say, “During August, we successfully exported and sold the remaining gold Doré, while also commencing the transport of gold-copper concentrate inventory stored on site. As at September 10, approximately 6,000 dry metric tonnes of the total concentrate in inventory has been delivered to port ahead of shipping. The Company expects approximately 80% of the concentrate to be transported to the port by the end of the third quarter and entirely transported by mid-October.” The gold-copper concentrate inventory totalled approximately 15,000 dry metric tonnes, which contains approximately 18,500 ounces of gold and 3,500 tonnes of copper. Additionally, the Company had nearly 1,100 ounces of gold in Doré, which has been sold in the third quarter. To-date the Company has invoiced approximately $25 million in net concentrate sales. The Company expects to have completed the transport and sale of all concentrate inventory by mid-October and to have collected 90% of the invoiced value progressively over a similar time frame. The final 10% is payable on delivery of concentrate to the customers smelter based on final assay. Transportation of supplies and equipment to the Didipio Mine site have progressed well. Process plant recommissioning is over one-third complete with restart activities including but not limited to installation of a new ball mill motor, ongoing recommissioning of the crusher, recharge of grinding media and testing and commissioning of plant instrumentation and pumping equipment. The Company expects the restart of milling on stockpiled ore by the middle of November. The Didipio operation currently has approximately 23 million tonnes of stockpiled ore grading at 0.33 g/t gold and 0.3% copper. Upon restart of underground mining operations, mill feed will be progressively supplemented by higher grade underground ore. Underground mining restart activities include the rehiring and training of underground operators is progressing to plan. The Company has completed initial rehabilitation of ore drives, geotechnical inspections, installation and testing of ventilation infrastructure and technical plans. Ore development is expected by the end of October while stoping is scheduled for the end of November. The Company is expecting to ramp-up to the full underground production rate of 1.6 million tonnes per annum within ten months The capital expenditure associated with the restart of operations is expected to range between $5 to $7 million for the remainder of the year. This expenditure will be funded through the net proceeds associated with the sale of the gold-copper concentrate in 2021. For the remainder of 2021, the Company expects to produce between 5,000 and 10,000 ounces of gold along with approximately 1,000 tonnes of copper. The Company expects Didipio gold sales for 2021 to range between 23,000 and 28,000 ounces of gold and between 3,500 and 4,500 tonnes of copper. Didipio All-In Sustaining Costs are expected to range between $300 and $400 per ounce sold with cash costs of $200 to $300 per ounce sold. At full operations, the Didipio mine is expected to produce approximately 10,000 ounces of gold and 1,000 tonnes of copper per month. The Company is working in partnership with the local municipal health office to support vaccination efforts, including sourcing additional vaccines for the Didipio workforce and surrounding communities. Social development projects have also re-commenced for Didipio’s beneficiary communities, which includes COVID-19 relief efforts as well as significant investment in programs that improve health, education, infrastructure, and capacity building within the local and adjacent communities. The successful and uninterrupted restart of Didipio reflects strong endorsement from both the community and National Government. Didipio is a meaningful socio-economic contributor to Barangay of Didipio, adjacent communities and provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, and the region. The Company looks forward to continuing its legacy of responsible mining in the Philippines and contributing to the post COVID-19 economy. Macraes 2021 guidance is revised to 135,000 to 145,000 gold ounces at an AISC of $1,300 to $1,350 and a cash cost of $900 to $950 per ounce sold. The change is due to the production impact of the fifteen-day New Zealand wide level 4 COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent ramp-up, combined with the management of ongoing geotechnical risk limiting the operations ability to fully access higher grade zones as planned later in 2021. Waihi operations were also suspended for fifteen-days in accordance with New Zealand’s level 4 COVID-19 restrictions. As previously advised, operations resumed following the easing of restrictions with the impact of the suspension on 2021 production of approximately 5,000 ounces. With the site mine constrained, the reduction is driven by lower 2021 ore production with the deferred ore zones being higher grade. Waihi is now tracking toward the lower end of its production guidance range of 35,000 to 45,000 gold ounces at an AISC of $1,300 to $1,350 and a cash cost of $900 to $950 per ounce sold. The Company, however remains focussed on identifying potential opportunities to partially offset the impact over the balance of 2021. At Haile, the Company continues to advance technical reviews and focus on mine and mill productivity and operating cost improvements. Recent operational performance continues to comfortably track to full year guidance of 160,000 to 170,000 ounces of gold at an AISC of $1,100 to $1,150 per ounce sold and a cash cost of $850 to $900 per ounce sold. Development of the Haile Underground is expected to commence following completion of the Supplementary Environment Impact Statement process. On a consolidated basis, after the inclusion of Didipio, the Company continues to expect full year production to be 350,000 to 370,000 gold ounces at an AISC of $1,200 to $1,250 and cash costs of $825 to $875 per ounce sold. With the inclusion of Doré and concentrate inventory sales from Didipio, consolidated gold ounces sold for 2021 are expected to be approximately 20,000 ounces higher than production. Article courtesy of OceanaGold
Philippine Resources - September 20, 2021
Global nickel production to recover by 6.8% in 2021, supported by Indonesia and the Philippines, says GlobalData
Photo credit: GlobalData Global nickel mine production is expected to grow by 6.8% to reach 2,427.4 thousand tonnes (kt) in 2021, after registering an estimated 4.2% decline to 2,272kt in 2020, owing to COVID-19-related lockdowns and restrictions, says GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that output from Indonesia (+16.3%), the Philippines (+5.1%) and Brazil (+24%) will be significant contributors to the overall growth this year. In contrast, production is expected to decline in Russia (-13.8%), and South Africa (-15.8%). Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Combined production from Indonesia, the Philippines and Brazil is expected to increase from a collective 1,160kt in 2020 to 1,316.8kt in 2021 – an increase of 13.5%. The increase in production will be supported by the expansion of Indonesia’s nickel industry, the resumption of production at various mines in the Philippines and the ramp up at the Santa Rita mine in Brazil, which was previously halted in 2015. “Overall, Indonesia and the Philippines will remain as the largest sources of nickel globally. Together with Russia, New Caledonia and Australia, these five countries account for almost three-quarters of the global total.” Looking ahead, nickel production over the forecast period is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3%, to reach 2,730.6kt in 2025. Indonesia, Russia, Canada and the Philippines will be the key contributors to this growth. Combined production in these countries is expected to increase from a forecasted 1,607kt in 2021 to 1,818.4kt in 2025. Bajaj continues: “Projects with potential to commence operations during the forecast period include the Araguaia Nickel project in Brazil, which is wholly owned by Horizonte Minerals, and is currently awaiting a final investment decision (FID). The US$402.1m project will have an annual nickel production capacity of 14.5kt and is expected to commence operations in 2022. During early 2021, the project’s infrastructure including the award of construction licences for the transmission line and the water pipeline were approved by the company. Tenders for the supply of key equipment and services have been completed for approximately US$230m.” The Aquila Nickel project in Indonesia, which is wholly owned by Solway Investment Group, has obtained its regulatory approvals and permissions. The US$57m project will have an annual nickel production capacity of 16.6kt and is expected to commence operations in 2023. Article courtesy of GlobalData
Philippine Resources - September 07, 2021
METALLIC PRODUCTION VALUE ADVANCES BY 24.50% IN H1 2021
Metallic mineral production value advanced by 24.50% or PHP13.50 billion in H1 2021 from PhP55.13 billion to PhP68.63 billion, year-on-year. The telling factor for this sterling performance was the continued strong metal prices during the period. Prices of base metals, copper, and nickel grew by 65% and 40%, respectively. Likewise precious metals, gold, and silver went up by 10% and 59%, respectively. In terms of contribution to the metallic production value, nickel together with its nickel products accounted for 53.44% or PhP36.68 billion followed by gold with 34.84% or PhP23.91 billion. Copper took the third spot at PhP7.46 billion or 10.87% while the collective values of silver, iron ore, and chromite were less than 1% or PhP0.58 billion. Having bullish nickel metal price as its backdrop in H1 2021 nickel together with its nickel products continued to rule the production scene contributing more than 53% of the country’s production value from PhP25.17 billion to PhP36.68 billion year-on-year, a growth of almost PhP11.51 billion or 46%. Breaking it down further, nickel direct shipping ore accounted for 58% or PhP21.42 billion while mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide tendered 41% or PhP15.07 billion. Scandium oxalate came up with less than 1% or PhP0.19 billion. Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation (THPAL) produces both mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide and scandium oxalate. While Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) only produces mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide. Nickel ore production volume and value went up by 39% and 98% from 109,471 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP10.79 billion to 151,646 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP21.42 billion. Prices of nickel are at their sweetest at US$17,490.15 per metric ton from US$12,473.17 per metric ton, year-on-year, a considerable price difference of US$5,017 per metric ton. The top three producers for the first half were Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) with 28,935 metric tons followed by Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) with 25,301 metric tons; and Platinum Group Metals Corporation with 12,977 metric tons. TMC and RTNMC supply all the low-grade limonite ore feed requirements of THPAL and CBNC plants, respectively. The limonite ores delivered to THPAL and CBNC were included in the total ore production of TMC and RTNMC. In terms of production by Province, Surigao del Norte led with 51,162 metric tons, followed by Palawan with 39,190 metric tons, Surigao del Sur took the third spot with 21,060 metric tons. While Zambales accounted for 16,757 metric tons closely followed by Agusan del Norte with 16,530 metric tons and Dinagat Island with 6,946 metric tons. Out of the 28 listed operating nickel projects, only 19 reported productions, nine or 32% were with zero production. Production volume and value of the yellow metal was up by 3% and 8% from 8,257 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP22.15 billion to 8,545 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP23.91 billion. The top three seeds were Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corporation (PGPRC) in Masbate with 3,558 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP9.98 billion followed by Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corporation in Agusan del Sur with 1,268 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP3.55 billion and FCF Minerals in Nueva Vizcaya with 1,090 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP3.05 billion. The price of gold was impressive at US$1,808.59 per troy ounce in contrast with last year’s H1 average price of US$1,647.59 per troy ounce, up by US$161 per troy ounce. Conversely, the performance of the red metal was diverse with copper production volume going down from 31,030 metric tons to 23,557 metric tons year-on-year, a difference of 24%. The production value, however, grew by 4% from PhP7.19 billion to PhP7.46 billion. The PhP0.27 billion surge was courtesy of the upbeat price of copper during the period from US$5,496.36 per metric ton in 2020 to US$9,094.61 per metric ton in 2021, a substantial US$3,598 increase. The positive price was partly due to supply disruptions in major producing countries like Peru and Chile. Currently, the country has only two copper producers, Carmen Copper Corporation in Cebu accounted for 75% or 17,568 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP4.77 billion while Philex Mining Corporation in Benguet accounted for 25% or 5,989 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP2.69 billion. For silver, production volume decline by 6% or 723 kilograms from 11,793 kilograms to 11,069 kilograms year-on-year. Production value, though, grew by 46% or PhP0.14 billion from PhP0.31 billion to PhP0.45 billion year-on-year. Apex Mining Company, Inc. in Davao de Oro retains its dominance accounting for 47% or 5,164 kilograms while in far second was PGPRC in Masbate with 20% or 2,189 kilograms. During the period, eight mining projects recorded silver production. More than the robust metal price, recent developments in the local minerals industry are anticipated to be game-changers in the overall performance of the industry in the coming years not only in terms of mine ore production but also in its economic contribution. By this we mean employment generation, increase revenue collection both at the local and national level, and improved quality of life of the host and neighboring communities. Latest developments include the re-entry of Didipio Copper-Gold Project of OceanaGold (Phils) Inc. (OGPI) in Nueva Vizcaya to the production stream; and the issuance of Executive Order (E0) No. 130 and together with its Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR). The renewal of the application of OGPI was approved last 14 July 2021. This is projected to boost/augment local copper, gold, and silver mine production. It is worth noting that from 2014-2018, the annual production average of the Project for gold was 4,191 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP7.95 billion while for copper about 20,493 metric tons with an estimated value of PhP5.83 billion. More or less this was the foregone production volume and value in CY 2020 when OGPI recorded no production while awaiting the renewal of its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement. Consequently, forgone production meant lower or no revenue collection by the national and local government during the period. In addition, this also resulted in fewer economic activities in the host and neighboring communities. Another positive development is the issuance of EO No. 130 together with its IRR. This EO amended Section 4 of EO No. 79 of 2012 wherein the Government may now enter into new mineral agreements, subject to compliance with the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations. It is notable that of the 30 million total land area of the Philippines, the data of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau shows that only about 2.55% or 763,899.7538 hectares is covered by mining tenements and said the area is still subject to the mandatory relinquishment by contractors provided by law. Breaking it down further, of the 9 million hectares identified as having high mineral potential only 8.49% is covered by mining tenement. This significantly means that 91.51% of the land area identified with high mineral potential remains to be untapped. On the international scene, a lot of things are going on that may affect the growth of the local minerals industry. The COVID-19 pandemic is still very much on the scene affecting mining operations worldwide, even major players were not spared. While it is true that at a certain point the disruption in mining operations has pushed metal prices to impressive heights as a result of lower production vis-à-vis increasing demand. The unrelenting COVID-19 virus which put the health of people still at risk despite the availability of vaccines has now curtailed economic activities worldwide. Reduced economic activities would mean the demand for industrial metals like copper, iron ore, nickel, and among others being utilized by the steel, construction and other downstream industries to decline. Mineral analysts are also projecting, demand cutback from China, for this metals. China is the country’s major trading partner when it comes to its mineral ores. On the other hand, still on the growing concerns of the COVID-19 virus gold price is still expected to be strong given its safe-haven appeal to investors during these uncertain times.
Place your Ad Here!
Abe Almirol - August 23, 2021
Safe and Clean Mining: Can Artisanal Miners Survive Regulation?
Making good its promise to take drastic action against illegal settlers in the mineral-rich Barangay Runruno in the town of Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has led an operation leading to the dismantling and confiscation of illegally operating ball-mills, a device used by traditional miners to process gold ore. “The operation came in as a surprise. Even the members of the local media took days to find out,” says Leander Domingo of Manila Times, who rushed to the scene with local journalists and Philippine Information Agency staff stationed in Bayombong. It was only when social media posts began spreading that houses are allegedly being demolished in Runruno in the last days of July 2021 that newsmen learned about the operation. The MGB involved the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Army to assist them. Cagayan Valley Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of DENR was quick to dispel the rumour, citing that it is only the illegal ball-mills that were dismantled during the operation. “These areas were classified as high-risk geo-hazard zones, so we are encouraging them to vacate the area. If needed, we will file appropriate charges just to enforce the law,” she said. In violation of Presidential Decree 705, 32 lawsuits were filed by the DENR against those occupying the prohibited zones, most of them are operators and workers who owned the confiscated illegal gold mining and processing equipment. The sub-villages of Bit-ang and Balcony in Runruno have long history of unreported deaths due to landslides and caving-in of make-shift tunnels. “Although there was no official confirmation, reports of deaths due to cave-ins and premature explosions as well as the use of deadly chemicals from small scale mining operations have been taking place in these villages,” a 2011 news report of the Philippine Star reads. In November last year, Typhoon Ulysses brought the largest number of casualties in a single incident. The reported death of 10 people at the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses alarmed authorities, and even Malacañang Palace issued an order creating the Build Back Better Task Force. ILLEGAL MINING BUSTED. Regional Executive Director Gwendolyn Bambalan of DENR Cagayan Valley (in green shirt) personally inspected the dismantled and confiscated gold processing equipment in Barangay Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya. Regional Director Mario Ancheta of the MGB (in blue shirt), PENRO Edgar Martin (second from left, front row) and CENRO Giovanni Magat (extreme left, front row) joined in the inspection. (Photo Credits: Benjamin Moses Ebreo, PIA Nueva Vizcaya) The ‘Minahang Bayan’ as a National Strategy DENR has long advised that there are legal ways for traditional artisanal miners to benefit from the country’s mineral resources. “We can find appropriate places to establish a Minahang Bayan, just approach the MGB. You can look for Director Mario Ancheta,” she told Runruno residents in a video-taped interview with the Philippine Information Agency. Last May, DENR Undersecretary Jonas Leones told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that creating Minahang Bayan sites will generate more jobs in the countryside and fuel economic growth. Republic Act 7076 established the people’s small-scale mining program. It seeks to achieve an orderly, systematic, and rational scheme for the small-scale development and utilization of mineral resources. According to RA 7076, small-scale mining “refers to mining activities which rely heavily on manual labour using simple implements and methods and do not use explosives or heavy mining equipment.” DENR Assistant Secretary Nonita Caguioa, however, clarified that small-scale mining is applicable to gold, silver, and chromite only, and cited a restriction on extracting metallic minerals. The Minahang Bayan is the only area where small-scale miners can operate legally according to the law. In this way, government can better monitor and regulate extractive activities. The safety of the mine workers, protection of the environment, and generation revenues for the government could be tracked along this set-up. “It is difficult to monitor small-scale miners if they are operating outside Minahang Bayan areas,” MGB Small-Scale Mining Development Section chief Joel Natividad. As of May 2021, there are 39 operating Minahang Bayan in the country, almost twice more than the 20 recorded in 2018. MGB has targeted 150 Minahang Bayan to be established by 2022. “Our crackdown on illegal miners continues as we also put up more Minahang Bayan areas. This is to ensure that mining will be concentrated in one area where the DENR can regulate and monitor small-scale operations,” Leones said. Emerging Clean Mining Technology In the Philippines, Executive Order 79 series of 2012 has already prohibited the use of mercury in small-scale mining, yet almost all artisanal miners continue to use it. Since 2019, MGB Acting Director Wilfredo Moncano has been collaborating with a Global Environment Facility-funded USD11.70-million project to help eliminate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale gold mining sectors in the country and Mongolia. The long-awaited substitute for mercury and cyanide finally came out very recently. Clean Earth Technologies now owns a technology that was tested at Barrick Goldstrike mine by CSIRO. This technology is being expanded to cover other types of ore. Last 18 June 2021, Kevin Fell, Executive Director and CEO of Clean Mining Technologies made a presentation before a webinar with the Philippine Mining Club. His strategy for the Philippine market is founded on favourable environment where the authorities are now embracing more sustainable and environmentally friendly mining processes and opening up to approving licenses that benefit the community and economy. Fell also believes that foreign Investment is now more palatable with stability and governance which assures tenure. As the CML is the “only available genuine, non-toxic solution that meets all the needs of government authorities and mining communities,” Clean Mining Technologies throws its full support and collaboration with Artisanal Gold Council in the creation of community hubs to process gold extracted by artisanal miners, which is basically the same as the Minahang Bayan. “We are very excited about this opportunity which will set world first standards in the artisanal space which accounts for over 25% of the worlds gold production,” said Fell. As to how quick the government and mining stakeholders can put this technology to work is an interesting research subject in the coming years.
Abe Almirol - August 23, 2021
Jobseekers jubilant at Didipio’s re-opening
A month after Australian-Canadian miner OceanaGold Corporation (OGC) announced that the company hurdled a breakthrough after more than two years of operational stand-by in Didipio, jobseekers virtually flocked to the company’s local social media page. Didipio mine is OGC’s major asset in the Philippines located 364 kilometres north of Manila. It is under the Financial and/or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) scheme provided by the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 which was renewed for another 25 years after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte signed the agreement, its effectivity commencing June 19, 2021. The social media page “Didipio Mine” has made its following jump to 18,264 with 17,159 likes after a month when job openings were posted. At least 174 job openings were recently announced. OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI), the company’s local subsidiary and holder of the FTAA, has 141 positions open as announced in various social media posts from July 21 to August 4. Its homegrown contractor, DiCorp, also announced 19 vacancies. SGS Philippines, its assay laboratory contractor, has two jobs open while Delta Earthmoving has 12 vacancies announced recently. The Didipio Mine page has pledged to abide by the Data Privacy Act to assure applicants that any sensitive information they passed to the hiring department will be treated with strict confidentiality. “Didipio Mine employees work on a family-friendly roster schedule (10 days on/5 days off; 14 days on/7 days off; 20 days on/10 days off and 28 days on/14 days off) and working 11- hour shifts. Meals and accommodations are provided for non Didipio residents in the mine’s camp facilities,” the job offer reads. As new jobs are generated, the government hopes for an economic rebound from the effects of lockdowns last year. Income taxes paid by Didipio mine employees alone has made the Bureau of Internal Revenue district here as a top achiever in terms of collection since 2013. Locals First Policy One of the demands raised by residents when they opted to endorse the first FTAA in 1994 is to have the right to priority employment. As this is easier said than done, OGPI explored many options to abide by this commitment of its predecessor companies. OGPI’s most notable innovation is the creation of DiCorp, a local company established by long-time residents whose lands were affected during the construction of the Didipio mine. Since the mine needs a variety of services such as laundry, housekeeping, food catering and transport, OGPI encouraged those compensated with large sums of money for their lands to invest in DiCorp. DiCorp was established before Didipio mine commenced commercial operation in 2013. It has played a major role in the operation of the mine since then. “Today and onwards, we see a brighter future, better opportunities and hopefully a stronger DiCorp in terms of dedicated, sensible and responsible staff, improved income, and credibility,” said Simplicia D. Ananayo, who was then serving at the Community Relations Office when DiCorp was established 10 years ago. Ananayo has retired after reaching the mandatory age serving at the Community Relations Office of OGPI. She is now part of DiCorp’s top management since she had acquired some of the company stocks when it was established. Hope in Pandemic Times The resumption of Didipio mine’s operation will certainly boost the country’s economic survival amidst pandemic times. As hundreds of companies went broke or were forced to close, and even Filipinos gainfully employed oversees came home, Didipio mine is a good choice of employment. Furthermore, the new FTAA widened the scope of its Social Development Management Plan (SDMP). The company explained that the FTAA was renewed on substantially the same terms and conditions and includes the following modifications: The equivalent of an additional 1.5% of gross revenue to be allocated to community development. Reclassification of Net Smelter Return to be an allowable deduction and shared 60%/40% rather than wholly included in government share. Listing of at least 10% of the common shares in OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (“OGPI”), the Company’s Philippine operating subsidiary and holder of the FTAA, on the Philippine Stock Exchange within the next three years. OGPI shall offer for purchase by the Philippine Central Bank not less than 25% of its annual gold doré production at fair market price and mutually agreed upon terms. Transfer of OGPI’s principal office to a host province within the next two years. “The additional 1.5% allocated to community development will take the form of increased contributions to communities in the region and provincial development projects. While the existing fund for Social Development and Management Program will continue to be provided for the host and neighbouring communities, 1.0% of the additional 1.5% will be allocated to community development for additional communities and 0.5% to the host Provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino,” OGC explained in a press statement.
Philippine Resources - August 23, 2021
Ph large-scale mines fight to keep jobs amid pandemic
Photo Credit: Carmen Copper - With its health and safety protocols already in place, Carmen Copper Corporations was able to maintain full operations throughout 2020. While millions of jobs were lost last year across most sectors following the lockdowns put in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, employment in the Philippine mining industry remains largely unaffected. This is due mainly to the resilience of the minerals development sector and the efforts of mining firms to keep their workers employed. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the country’s unemployment rate was 8.7% in April 2021, an improvement from the 10.4% posted at the end of 2020 – the highest in 15 years. In terms of magnitude, the April figures translate to a total of 4.14 million unemployed individuals who are 15 years old and above. The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) estimates the Philippines’ total job losses at 2.1 million in 2020, around 500,000 of which were in construction and another 100,000 in manufacturing, with the steepest decline in employment in the services sector reliant on tourism. ADB pegs the job losses north of 500,000 in wholesale and retail; 265,000 in accommodation and food; and a drop of about 100,000 jobs in transport, public administration, and other services. Meanwhile, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau says the mining and quarrying sectors even posted a slight increase in employment numbers, from 182,000 in 2019 to 184,000 in 2020. In April 2021, however, employment in mining and quarrying dropped by 7,000, which can be attributed to the temporary closure of some operations due to local government directives. Nevertheless, this figure is expected to improve particularly in the large-scale metallic sector with the resumption of OceanaGold Phils. Inc.’s Didipio Project operations soon following the renewal of its mining agreement with the Philippine government. Quick response Members of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) – composed primarily of the country’s largest metallic mines – responded early to the pandemic, enabling them to effectively mitigate the risks of infection within and around their mines. In Carmen Copper Corporation’s (CCC) mine in Toledo City, Cebu, for instance, the company secured its employees’ livelihood by assuring continued salaries, providing assistance to protect their health, and setting up precautionary measures to reduce infection risks. CCC instituted flexible work arrangements, such as work-from-home options for non-critical employees and accommodations for workers directly involved in the mine and mill operations. The company also provided free service buses for commuting personnel as public transportation was halted during the lockdowns. Health and safety measures were strictly implemented in the workplace such as social distancing and mandatory wearing of personal protective equipment. CCC also conducted regular disinfection and housekeeping of work areas and facilities. CCC followed the “Trace, Test and Treat” strategy in managing the Covid-19 pandemic. The company’s emergency responders and medical teams meticulously traced contacts people exposed to persons positive with Covid-19 and provided regular testing. It also established quarantine areas inside the mine site and provided nutritious meals, vitamins and supplements for workers who have been exposed to positive patients. Thankful CCC’s efforts to secure jobs and keep employees safe are being replicated by COMP member-firms across the country. These efforts have not gone unnoticed by their workforce. “During the onset of the pandemic, we did not report for work for 15 days,” recalls Jordan Zamuco, a company driver at Philex Mining Corp.’s Padcal Operations in Tuba, Benguet. “We were on on-call duty since there were company volunteer programs where our assistance to transport donations to our host and neighboring communities were needed. After 15 days, we were back on track; our work has been continuous since. There were instances when the skeletal workforce arrangement was necessary in our department but we were well compensated. We received our daily salary. What I am most thankful for are the continued benefits from the company that we received without delay.” “I am grateful to this company for continuing to provide benefits for us employees,” says Mine Operations Group manager Benedict Gapongli. “Despite this situation we are all facing, the company even gave us bonuses and salary increases.” None of Philex Padcal Mine’s nearly 1,900 employees – majority of whom are from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), which posted a 25% unemployment rate at the start of the pandemic – were separated since the start of the pandemic. Same with the company’s corporate offices in Mandaluyong, where some 80 employees are posted. New Philex Mining Corp. (PMC) HR Senior Supervisor Luzbele Roxas, hired during the pandemic. PMC is part of the MVP Group of Companies. “In Philex, I can feel how agile the company is in adapting to the pandemic,” shares Human Resources senior supervisor Luzbele Roxas. “The work-from-home setup and laptop subsidy keep me safe and make me productive at the same time. One of my key functions in HR is recruitment. I’m well equipped to handle challenges in this function with the aid of digital solutions. Moreover, with De Los Santos Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, and other MVP partner medical institutions on my speed dial, I can confidently take care of our existing and prospective employees on their health needs. The work environment here in Philex is family oriented. Perhaps that’s the reason why we have many long-tenured employees.” “My work during this pandemic period has been most rewarding,” says Keith Conrad Fabros, a shop clerk and tool keeper at Padcal’s Mobile Equipment Department. “I may have additional workload, but I am quite able to cope with it. I am thankful that despite this pandemic, I still have a steady job and my family and I are healthy. The company provides free medical benefits to employees, such as the random swab tests. This makes us and our families protected from the virus.” “There are so many things to be thankful about being part of this wonderful company, of course with the directives and supervision of our beloved president, Mr. Eules Austin,” says Irish Distor of Philex Mining Corp.’s Information Technology Department. “Thank you very much, Sir! Mabuhay po kayo!” “During these difficult times a lot of people lost their jobs. That is why I am most thankful to Philex for ensuring that I keep my job and bring food on the table, and for helping keep our families safe,” says Irish Distor from Philex’s Corporate Office. “We were given the tools we need to do our jobs and the flexibility to work from home. Philex also showed us how much they care for their employees when we were given flu and Covid-19 vaccines.” Lucky Benguet Corporation (BC), for its part, managed to secure the jobs of 1,433 employees in the company’s head office and various projects. The company’s gold operation in Itogon, Benguet managed to remain open even with the drastic decrease in the attendance of contract miners by 56%. Despite lower production, BC retained its 475 employees in its Baguio Gold Operation and is currently hiring for newly vacant positions. “As the coronavirus continues to rapidly spread across the world, it is causing a considerable degree of anxiety, fear, and concern to all,” says Mark Gallo, Human Resources assistant at BC’s head office. “Having this in mind, the company has safeguarded the welfare of its employees by providing flexible working hours, shuttle services, regular RT PCR screening tests, vaccines, quarantine facilities, and other safety essentials to protect them from the infection. We are lucky.” The company’s subsidiary, BenguetCorp Nickel Mines Inc (BNMI) greatly contributed to the increase of employment in Sta. Cruz, Zambales when it resumed mining last year. Since October 2020, BNMI contracted additional 704 employees for it nickel mining operation. “Hearing news of unemployment in the country and closing down of many businesses in different industries, makes me realize to be grateful that I still have a secured job I can count on during these trying times to provide for my family,” Gallo adds. Roy Cale and 200 of his fellow workers and contractors at Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) were able to keep their jobs despite the pandemic. With his job secured, he and his nine teammates in the firm’s Mine Environmental Protection and Enhancement Team aim to produce up to 120,000 seedlings that SMI will then grow, propagate, plant, or distribute to community members in Tampakan, South Cotabato. Roy Cale is one of the nine contractual workers under the Mine Environmental Protection and Enhancement Team (MEPE) of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI). As a nursery aide, he brings to life various seedlings that SMI will then grow, propagate, plant or distribute to community members. This year, Cale and his other teammates aim to produce up to 120,000 seedlings of various tree species. Cale is a resident of Barangay Tablu in Tampakan, South Cotabato. He joined the SMI MEPE Team in 2017 and has since helped produce more than half a million seedlings. During the onset of COVID-19 pandemic last year, Cale was thankful that his workspace is in the great outdoors, making him feel safe from possible workplace infection. Cale was also thankful that, despite job losses that other industries suffered due to lockdowns and economic downturns, SMI immediately activated its crisis management and business continuity plans that allowed him to keep his job. Some 200 other SMI staff and contractors were able to keep their jobs as well. ‘Malasakit’ The pandemic served as an opportunity for Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC) in Quezon, Palawan to assuage its employees that no challenge is too difficult if they focus on their work and on showing their “malasakit” – or concern – for both the company and each other. “Initially we were afraid that we will lose our jobs like what happened in other companies, Jay Dionisio, an artist at BNC’s Safety Department. “We were fetched from our homes by our company and made to stay in the mine to protect us from the virus. This arrangement allowed us to work unhampered, thus ensuring our income kept coming and our families won’t go hungry.” (Clockwise from top left) Rolando Sajot, Jaypee dela Cruz, Florita Mutas, and Jay Dionisio all showed “malasakit” for Berong Nickel Corp. and fellow employees, which helped the company to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic. Rolando Sajot, BNC Safety superintendent, says the strict enforcement of Health Protocols in the mine enabled the company to keep all its 778 employees safe. “We managed to maintain our Safety Performance Indicator at ‘0’ – meaning there were no recorded accidents from 2019 to December 2020,” he points out. “We posted 4 million man-hours of no lost time accident, and 25 million man-hours of no fatality since 2007.” “Our efforts to care for and protect the forest and seas continued amid the pandemic,” says BNC Mine Environmental Protection and Enhancement officer Jaypee dela Cruz. “One of the most important elements of our reforestation initiatives is our Nursery operations, manned by people like Mrs. Florita Mutas who, at 43, still sends seven of her children to school.” “With God’s grace, we were able to continue our work here, which gave me the means to feed and provide for all the needs of my children,” Mutas relates. Happy and Contented While other companies have shut down their businesses due to the pandemic, exploration and community development work in and around TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc.’s (TVIRD) Balabag Project in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur has not stopped, says Julito Bate, a carpenter and father of seven children. “TVIRD values its workers, especially those who are honest in doing their work.” Marvin Edal, a former illegal small-scale miner in this town, says working with TVIRD is his “dream come true”. A member of the Subanen tribe, Edal was able to fulfill his wish of serving his community, especially in times of calamity and disaster, as part of the company’s exploration team. On top of that, he now earns a lot more compared to the meager P20 he received per day in his old back-breaking job of carrying sacks of gold ore to his boss’ makeshift processing plant. The pandemic has not prevented him from helping his townmates and those in neighboring villages owing to the company’s continued operations. “My only wish is for TVIRD to start its mining operations soon so we can further spread the benefits of responsible mining,” he says. The chief’s grandson. Despite his lineage, Marvin Edal is described as “warm, approachable and hard-working – one of the best employees of TVIRD’s Community Relations group.” Photo shows Marvin (in light blue) assisting his grandfather, Timuay Casiano Edal, in managing administrative duties for the Subanen tribe. Edal’s sentiment is shared by Dionel Barut, an Administration assistant and in-charge of TVIRD’s kitchen staff, as well as the purchase of supplies for the kitchen, mess hall, and accommodation facilities in Balabag. “I like working here because the company takes good care of its employees,” he relates. “Besides the good pay, much importance is given to our health and safety.” Barut worked once in a 5-star hotel at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig but left and joined TVIRD in 2020. He has no plans of leaving anytime soon. “We are happy and contented here, especially whenever we see our fellow workers delighted with the food we serve – and then receive ‘thank-yous’ from them. Makes one forget there is a pandemic wreaking havoc all around,” he adds. Manpower reduction never an option Being in an export-oriented industry, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC) continued to operate albeit in a limited capacity and with due observance of the regulations set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF. Manpower reduction was never an option for the company. Instead, LCMC opted to manage the employees’ earned leave credits not merely as a cost control measure, but more so to conform with the IATF protocols for companies allowed to operate and to help stem the spread of the virus in the work place. “The good thing here is that even with the Covid-19 pandemic, Lepanto didn’t stop operating,” says Mauricio Bangngayon, a Mine Shift Boss at LCMC’s Mankayan, Benguet mine. A high school undergraduate, Bangngayon left his village in Tanudan, Kalinga 10 years ago and found a job here, initially as a mucker, then as an LHD operator 3 years later, until he was promoted to his current post. “The company continues to fight, and I am still here,” he stresses. “The thing I like most is that I am with my family here. My wife doesn’t need to work abroad because I can provide them a decent living because of my job.” Mauricio Bangngayon (center), flanked by the Uyod brothers Abelard (left) and Samel (right) are thankful that their company, Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co., continues to fight to keep their jobs at the firm’s Mine Division in Mankayan, Benguet. The company put the welfare of its employees above anything else by providing them with the necessary personal protective equipment, vitamin C especially for the frontliners, shuttle services to ferry the employees to work and back home, and disinfectants for offices, to name a few. Lepanto also conducted massive testing for all the mine site employees. Those who tested positive were sent to quarantine facilities with free meals. The Lepanto Hospital continues to give free medical services to all the Lepanto employees and dependents. With Lepanto’s good relationship with the Mankayan Local Government Unit, getting its employees vaccinated was never a problem. Like Bangngayon, Abelard and Samel Uyod, both from Tadian, Mt. Province, found their luck in Lepanto, Mine Division. Both of them are third generation employees, as their father and grandfather used to work for the company as lead miners. The Uyod brothers are grateful for the opportunities given to them my LCMC even with their lack of college degrees. Abelard started working as a security guard in 2001 and eventually became a security officer, because of his dedication and excellent performance being an underground patrol. “My being able to continue working here despite the pandemic is really a great help,” Abelard relates. “My children are still studying – two of them are now in college – and we need to fund their tuition fees. We don’t know any other income source that’s why my brother and I are so fortunate that we’re still here.” His older brother Samel started as a mucker in 2004, then became a lead miner, and was promoted to LHD operator, until he bagged the senior surface safety inspector position in 2010. He says: “Our families’ primary source of livelihood – our salaries – wasn’t affected that’s why our standard of living remains steady even with Covid-19 wreaking havoc everywhere. We are able to withstand the pandemic because we still have our jobs and for that we are most thankful.” Solidarity in the time of Covid-19 Back in Toledo City, Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) saw recently the signing of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between management and workers. Of CCC’s 2,365 employees, 1,916 or 81% are rank-and-file employees. President and CEO Roy Deveraturda says the signing is a symbol of solidarity, regardless if you’re a union member, the management, a service provider, or contractor. A key factor to the swift and peaceful CBA signing is the professionalism shown by the officers of the union, whom he described as "men of integrity and purpose." Carmen Copper Corp. President and CEO Roy Deveraturda (right) shares a light moment with labor union president Herbert Cabaluna during the signing of the new CBA between the firm and its employees. "They know that they also have responsibility because I believe they understand that before the wage earners can receive their share of the fruits of their labor, the wage giver must have the capability to give it to them. I salute the honesty, dedication and professionalism of the union members toward the common good," Deveraturda says. After the first three years, another negotiation will be made to deliberate on the next salary increase for the last two years of the CBA, he adds. “In a scenario wherein the general situation, brought about by the current pandemic, talks of furlough, layoffs and retrenchments from other companies, CCC is talking about salary increases and enhancing the welfare of its employees.". Union president Herbert Cabaluna, who described the CBA signing as a "very important" development, agrees: "Despite the pandemic and its effect to the economy, our CBA managed to increase and improve economic benefits like wages, benefits, allowances, bonus and programs. Aside from economic benefits, the CBA also institutionalized job security and protection of workers' rights." As CCC continues to strive for its goals amid the pandemic, Deveraturda urged all employees to do what they can for the company: "We must all love the company, show your commitment, cooperation and of course, your competence in the performance of your assigned tasks." Article Courtesy of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines
Place your Ad Here!
Philippine Resources - August 18, 2021
DMCI Mining shipments hit record high in H1
DMCI Mining shipped 1.24 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore from January to June, an all-time high for the company and 45 percent higher compared to the 853,000 MWT shipped during the same period last year. Of the total shipments, 718,000 WMT came from Berong Nickel Corporation (BNC) while Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) contributed 522,000 WMT. “This is the first time that both our mining assets are operating at full capacity. We expect shipments to remain strong in the second half since we were able to extend Berong’s mine life from June until Q3 this year,” said DMCI Mining president Tulsi Das C. Reyes. Average nickel grade of the shipped nickel dropped from 1.37% to 1.39% while average selling price per metric ton rallied 57 percent from USD28 to USD44 owing to China’s surging stainless steel production, strong demand for electric vehicles and the continuing Indonesian nickel ore export ban. “The uptrend in nickel prices is likely to continue in the coming months because of production-consumption gaps. Major nickel producers are seeing lower output because of COVID-19 lockdowns and various operating issues but industrial manufacturing is still ramping up,” Reyes added. DMCI Mining revenues in the first half grew 123 percent from P1.2 billion to P2.7 billion. Including a nonrecurring income of P247 million mainly due to deferred tax liability remeasurement and 2020 income tax adjustment under CREATE Act, its standalone net income soared 409 percent from P241 million to P1.2 billion. Nickel is mainly used in stainless steelmaking, but is also a vital ingredient for the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles (EV). The International Energy Agency estimates that global EVs will grow 14 times to 145 million by 2030.
Philippine Resources - August 17, 2021
Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc.’s H1 net income more than triples to P640.8 million
Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI), the country’s second-largest nickel ore producer, recorded H1 net income of P640.8 million against the P195.8 million it posted during the same period last year. Revenues are up by 68.9% to P2.61 billion compared to P1.54 billion during the same period last year mainly due to higher nickel ore prices and increased shipment volume. “We garnered more favorable results this year as the market experienced a big jump in the price of low-grade nickel ore. We did not experience a stoppage of operations as what happened in April last year,” said FNI President Dante R. Bravo. The Group completed 32 nickel ore shipments in H1 2021 against 23 shipments during the same period last year resulting in a 38.3% increase in shipment volume to 1.740 million WMT against the 1.258 million WMT in 2020. These were 100% exported to China and consisted of 1.465 million WMT low-grade nickel ore and 0.275 million WMT medium-grade nickel ore. The resulting sales mix is 84% low-grade ore and 16% medium-grade ore in 2021 compared to 52% low-grade ore and 48% medium-grade ore in the previous year. The overall average realized nickel ore price for the period ending 30 June 2021 was USD 31.10/WMT compared to USD 24.38/WMT for the period ending 30 June 2020, higher by USD 6.72/WMT or 27.6%. The price of low-grade ore went up by 61.7% to USD 31.01/WMT in 2021 against the 2020 price of USD 19.18/ WMT. Medium-grade ore, on the other hand, was USD 31.58/WMT or 5.2% higher than the 2020 price of USD 30.03/WMT. To date, FNI has spent over 35 million pesos on its COVID-19 response. It works closely with various local government units in helping the local communities combat the spread of the virus and providing relief during this time of need. It has donated PPE supplies, test kits, disinfectants, vitamins, medical equipment, medical services, rice and other essential goods, and participated in building a molecular laboratory in Surigao and a COVID-19 test center in Palawan.
Philippine Resources - August 06, 2021
Nickel Asia nets P2.73B in 1st half of 2021
Nickel Asia Corporation announced its unaudited financial and operating results for the six-month period ended June 30, 2021 with an attributable net income (net of minority interest) of P2.73 billion, a 579% increase from P401.4 million reported during the same period last year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to P5.34 billion, a 157% increase compared to P2.08 billion in the prior year. The higher net income was the result of higher ore sales prices and volume. The Company sold a total of 8.3 million wet metric tons (WMT) at the weighted average realized price of $25.47 per WMT in the first half of 2021 compared to 7.3 million WMT at $16.02 per WMT in the same period last year. Breaking down the ore sales, the Company exported 4.56 million WMT of saprolite and limonite ore at the average price of $37.50 per WMT in the first six months of 2021 compared to 3.28 million WMT at $26.03 per WMT in the same period last year. Likewise, the Company delivered 3.74 million WMT of limonite ore to Coral Bay and Taganito HPAL plants, the prices of which are linked to the LME, and realized an average price of $7.92 per pound of payable nickel. This compares to 4.02 million WMT at $5.68 per pound of payable nickel in 2020. Furthermore, owing to higher LME prices, the Company recognized gain from its equity share in its investments in the two HPAL plants in the combined amount of P244.1 million in the first half of 2021 compared to a loss of P70.6 million in the same period last year. The realized Peso to U.S. Dollar exchange rate for ore sales was P48.26 compared to P50.49 in the prior year. However, the exchange rate at the end of first half of 2021 stood higher at P48.80 compared to when it started the year at P48.02, thus the Company reported net foreign exchange gains of P190.6 million. This compares to the net foreign exchange losses of P101.7 million reported in the first half of last year. Total operating cash costs increased by 26% year-on-year to P5.15 billion from P4.10 billion in 2020. On a per WMT sold basis, total operating cash costs increased to P621 per WMT compared to P562 per WMT in 2020. “Demand for nickel remains strong due to surging stainless steel output, driven by the recovery of the construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas sectors, and accelerating demand from the EV battery industry,” said Martin Antonio G. Zamora, President and CEO of the Company. “Further, nickel supply disruptions, due in large part to the Indonesian ore export ban and COVID-19 related lockdowns, provide additional support to the price of nickel,” Mr. Zamora added. Article Courtesy of The Philippine Stock Exchange
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.
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.
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
Philippine Resources - July 29, 2021
Divestment of Siana Gold Project
Photo Credit: Delta Earth Moving Binding Agreement to divest the Siana Gold Project to TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. • US$19 million cash payable upon completion • Net Smelter Return royalty of 3.25% payable for up to 619,000 ounces of gold, with an estimated future face value of US$36 million (based on a US$1,800/oz gold price) (Royalty)1 • TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. is in the advanced stages of securing funding to restart the Siana Gold Project, which is expected to re-commence operations in the first half of 2023 Red 5 Limited advises that it has entered into a binding agreement with TVI Resource Development (Phils.) Inc. (TVIRD) to divest its interests in Philippine company Greenstone Resources Corporation (GRC), which holds both the Siana Gold Project (Siana) and the Mapawa Gold Project in the Philippines (Agreement). TVIRD is the Philippine affiliate of the Canadian-listed TVI Pacific Inc (TSX-V:TVI). TVIRD has two operating mines and a number of other development projects in the Philippines with interests in gold, nickel and copper. Through its major shareholder, Prime Resource Holdings Inc., TVIRD has advised that funding to restart Siana is expected to be sourced from existing operating cash flows and debt funding if required, and is targeting a restart of operations in the first half of 2023. Red 5, GRC and TVIRD are committed to ensuring an orderly transition of ownership at Siana. TVIRD will become the 100% owner of GRC and therefore the divestment includes the process plant and all other infrastructure at Siana. The Royalty of 3.25% payable for up to 619,000 ounces of gold will be payable from first gold from the restart of the Siana processing plant. The Parties will now progress towards prompt completion of the Agreement. Upon completion of all closing conditions, which include certain Philippine regulatory approvals expected to be satisfied during the September 2021 quarter, Red 5 will receive gross proceeds of US$19 million through the repayment of outstanding shareholder advances due from its Philippine-affiliated company, Red 5 Asia Inc, which is a shareholder of GRC. Since the suspension of mining operations at the Siana project in 2017 and after considering various options for the project, the divestment of its interests in Siana is consistent with Red 5’s strategy to focus on its King of the Hills and Darlot gold mines in Western Australia, with the aim of becoming a substantial mid-tier Australian gold producer. PCF Capital acted as Financial Advisor to Red 5. HopgoodGanim Lawyers and SyCipLaw Center have acted as Legal Advisors to Red 5. Commenting on the transaction, Red 5 Managing Director, Mark Williams, said: “The Company has had a long history in the Philippines as a gold explorer, developer and ultimately, successful operator of the Siana Gold Project for a number of years through its Philippines affiliates and partners. Following the challenges we experienced in FY17, mining operations at Siana were suspended and we have since successfully pivoted to Australia through our dual acquisition of the Darlot and King of the Hills gold mines, which was completed in October 2017. “We are now well established on our growth trajectory in the Australian gold sector with the construction of the King of the Hills gold mine now in full swing and first gold production on track for the June Quarter 2022, complementing our nearby existing production base at Darlot. “I am proud of the excellent job the Philippines team has done in maintaining the asset during the period of suspension of mining activities and ensuring that strong community relations programs have continued. I am confident that TVIRD will build on these strong foundations as they move forward and bring the mine back into production for the benefit of all key stakeholders in the region. “From a Red 5 perspective, the transaction streamlines our portfolio, removes the annual holding cost of approximately A$6 million and crystallises a combination of cash value for our shareholders while maintaining future exposure to the upside at Siana via a capped Net Smelter Return Royalty of 3.25%. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in assisting us with the transaction.”
Philippine Resources - July 26, 2021
Atlas Mining Net Income rose to Php 1.94 billion in 1H 2021
Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation ("Atlas Mining") reported net income on Php1.94 billion for the first half of 2021 compared to the net loss of Php190 million for the same period in 2020. Net income improvement benefitted from higher metal prices and improved production and shipment volumes in the second quarter. Metal prices rose in the second quarter this year with average copper price higher by 70% to 4.21/lb and gold price by 10% to USD1,812/ounce compared to the same period last year. Atlas Mining's wholly-owned subsidiary, Carmen Copper Corporation, reported higher copper production and shipments in the second quarter compared to the first quarter due to improvement in grades and milling tonnage. Quarter-on-quarter, copper metal produced increased by 43% from 15.93 million lbs to 22.80 million lbs while gold produced increased by 9% from 5,346 ounces to 5,829 ounces. Year-on-year, copper metal production decreased from 54.17 million pounds in 2020 to 38.73 million pounds in 2021, due mainly to the decrease in copper grades by 26% from 0.311% to 0.231% as ore milled in the first quarter was sourced from stockpiles. Gold production decreased year-on-year by 51% from 22,815 ounces to 11,176 ounces due also to lower gold grades from 7.68 grams/dmt to 5.09 grams/dmt. Cash costs decreased by 10% year-on-year from Php4.75 billion in 2020 to Php4.26 billion in 2021, due to overall lower volumes of shipments and production. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was Php4.932 billion for the first half, 46% higher compared to Php3.373 billion in 2020. Core income for the period was Php2.158 billion in 2021 compared to Php366 million in 2020. Based on its improved earnings, efficient operations and positive outlook, Atlas Mining continues to improve its balance sheet.
Philippine Resources - July 14, 2021
OceanaGold Announces Didipio FTAA Renewal
OceanaGold Corporation today advises that the Philippine Government has renewed the Didipio Mine Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (“FTAA”) for an additional 25-year period, beginning June 19, 2019. The renewed FTAA reflects similar financial terms and conditions while providing additional benefits to the regional communities and provinces that host the operation. Michael Holmes, President and CEO of OceanaGold said, “we are pleased to confirm the renewal of the Didipio Mine’s FTAA and thank the Philippine Government for their endorsement and renewal. We have worked through the renewal process in partnership with the Government and regulatory agencies. We look forward to commencing restart activities and continuing to work in partnership with our regulators, communities, employees, and all stakeholders to contribute to the Philippines’ post-COVID-19 economic recovery.” The Company has maintained the mine and associated facilities in a state of operational stand-by. The Company’s first operational priority is the rehiring and training of its Philippine workforce, which will include a focus on safeguarding workers from the current risks associated with COVID-19. The Company expects to provide additional details on the restart and resumption of normal operations at Didipio, including the timeline and an update to Company’s 2021 guidance, in due course. The Company plans a staged restart of operations with milling to recommence as soon as possible utilising stockpiled ore of which the operation has approximately 19 million tonnes available. The Company aims to achieve full underground production capacity within twelve months. Once fully ramped-up, the Company expects Didipio to produce approximately 10,000 gold ounces and 1,000 tonnes of copper per month at first quartile All-in Sustaining Costs. Didipio is a major direct and indirect employer in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya and a significant contributor of socio-economic benefits for the local and national economies. The Didipio Gold and Copper Mine operates to the highest environmental and social standards and has been recognised as one of the most responsible in the country. Renewal Terms The FTAA was renewed on substantially the same terms and conditions and includes the following modifications: The equivalent of an additional 1.5% of gross revenue to be allocated to community development Reclassification of Net Smelter Return to be an allowable deduction and shared 60% / 40% rather than wholly included in government share Listing of at least 10% of the common shares in OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (“OGPI”), the Company’s Philippine operating subsidiary and holder of the FTAA, on the Philippine Stock Exchange within the next three years OGPI shall offer for purchase by the Philippine Central Bank not less than 25% of its annual gold doré production at fair market price and mutually agreed upon terms Transfer of OGPI’s principal office to a host province within the next two years The additional 1.5% allocated to community development will take the form of increased contributions to communities in the region and provincial development projects. While the existing fund for Social Development and Management Program will continue to be provided for the host and neighbouring communities, 1.0% of the additional 1.5% will be allocated to community development for additional communities and 0.5% to the host Provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.