Metal output plunges
The country’s metallic production declined by 11 percent to P25 billion in the first quarter as the limited movement of supplies and workforce affected the output.
Latest data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) showed that the aggregate value of metal production decreased to P24.86 billion from P27.84 billion in 2019.
“The lackluster start was attributed mainly to the disruption in the mining operations of mining projects throughout the country amid the COVID-19 pandemic where movements of people and supplies were restricted,” MGB said.
“There was also zero production of one of the country’s major mining projects, Didipio Gold Project of OceanaGold Philippines located in Nueva Vizcaya. Last year, during the same period OceanaGold accounted for about P3.64 billion worth of copper, gold, and silver,” it added.
OceanaGold’s renewal of its financial and technical assistance agreement remains hanging as the Office of the President has yet to act on it.
Gold production took the spotlight, accounting for 43 percent of the total production value with aggregate earnings of P10.66 billion. The amount was 13 percent lower than the previous year.
Gold metal price accelerated to $1,548.17 per troy ounce from $1,304.15.
Direct shipping nickel ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfides grew two percent to P10.29 billion as nickel price accelerated to $12,739.72 per MT from $12,382.18 per MT.
The nickel group accounted for 41 percent of the total metallic production value in the first quarter. Revenues from copper production, which comprise 15 percent of the total, fell 27 percent to P3.69 billion.
The decline was attributed to the nine percent drop in copper price to $5,651.25 per MT.
The production value of silver also decreased 22 percent to P170 million as production fell 25 percent to 6,335 kilos.
Moreover, the Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp. was the country’s major gold producer during the period, accounting for 1,396 kilos valued at P3.61 billion.
Out of the 29 listed operating nickel mines, only 11 reported their metallic production while all the remaining 18 were either under care and maintenance program or reported zero production due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Meanwhile, the Toledo Copper Project of Carmen Copper Corp. in Cebu dominated copper production period with 79 percent share of the total output.