Metal output rises 7% in 2019
The country’s metallic production continued its upward trend, driven by the nickel sector as the Philippines benefitted from the ore export ban in Indonesia.
Latest data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) showed that aggregate value of metal production increased by seven percent to P130.73 billion last year.
This marks a three-year positive run for the metallic minerals industry.
“The driving force for the upbeat performance came from the collective production value of nickel ore and its products, mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide and scandium oxalate,” MGB said.
Indonesia earlier announced an export ban of nickel ore with nickel content below 1.7 percent. Indonesia is currently the world’s largest nickel-producing country with 560,000 metric tons, followed by the Philippines with 340,000 MT.
Direct shipping nickel ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfides took the spotlight, accounting for P63.71 billion or an increase of 15 percent year-on-year. This as nickel price accelerated to $13,897.85 per MT from $13,103.36 per MT in 2018.
The nickel group accounted for 49 percent of the total metallic production value last year. Nickel has been outpacing the yellow metal since 2018.
Gold production accounted for 36 percent of the total production value with aggregate earnings of P47.36 billion, up six percent even as output slightly decreased to 20,646 kilograms.
Gold metal price accelerated to $1,390.91 per troy ounce from $1,269.15 per troy year-on-year.
Revenues from copper production, which comprises 14 percent of total metal production value, declined by 11 percent to P18.46 billion despite a five percent hike in output to 296,997 dry metric tons.
The decline was attributed to the eight percent drop in copper price to $5,988.37 per MT.
The production value of silver, meanwhile, increased by five percent to P827 million as production rose five percent to 31,267 kilos.
Moreover, the Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp. was the country’s major gold producer, accounting for 6,760 kilos valued at P15.61 billion.
For nickel direct shipping ore, Taganito Mining Corp. in Surigao del Norte took up 24 percent of the total output.
To date, the country hosts 50 operating metallic mines consisting of 31 nickel, 10 gold with silver as co-product, three copper with gold and silver as co-products, three chromite, three iron, and two nickel plants, two gold plants and one copper smelter.
These are in addition to the numerous small-scale gold mining operations across the country.