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Metal production drops in 2015

Posted on May 21, 2016

VALUE of metal production dropped by about a fifth annually last year due to depressed world ore prices, a reversal from the 40% increase seen in 2014, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said in a statement uploaded on its Web site on Thursday.

MGB said metal output value dropped 23% to P108.21 billion last year from 2014’s P140.15 billion.

“The lackluster performance of metal output last year can be traced to the downward trend in world metal prices brought about by excess supply and weaker global trade.

Reduction in values of nickel, copper, iron or and chromite offset increases in gold and silver -- the only two metals that saw increments in volume as well that made up for decreases in world prices.

Of total metal production value, nickel direct shipping ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide remained at the top spot, accounting for half at P54.20 billion. But value of nickel direct shipping ore dropped 41% to P36.733 billion worth of 32.304 million dry metric tons (DMT) from P62.702 billion worth of 33.127 million DMT, while that of mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide fell 14% to P17.471 billion (84,995 DMT) from P20.311 billion (87,280 DMT).

Gold placed second with a 31.64% share, edging up 4% to P34.24 billion worth of 20,643 kilograms (kg) from P32.97 billion worth of 18,423 kg.

Copper concentrate came third with 17.49%, dropping 17% to P18.921 billion (337,185 DMT) from P22.758 billion (349,269 DMT).

Iron ore posted the biggest fall of 81% to P86.166 million (41,942 DMT) from P455.257 million (153,775 DMT), while chromite saw the second-biggest reduction of 66% to P113.528 million (15,502 DMT) from P337.204 million (47,056 DMT).

Silver, the only other metal whose value increased, went up 5% to P647.017 million (29,780 kg) from P616.437 million (23,005 kg).

MGB noted that prices of gold and silver actually declined: by 8.35% to $1,163.59 per troy ounce from $1,269.57 per troy ounce, and by 17.62% to $15.72 per troy ounce from $19.08 per troy ounce, respectively.

“Base metals are always vulnerable to economic slowdown mainly because they thrive on the degree of economic activities across the globe,” MGB said in a statement.

“As it is, China -- which accounted for the largest metal consumption in the past 10 years or so -- has… been reducing its demand for the said metals. China has been the country’s major market for nickel, copper, chromite and iron ore.”

The Philippines’ 10 biggest project contributors to output last year were the:

• Didipio Copper Gold Project of Oceana Gold Philippines Inc. that straddles Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces that brought in P12.24 billion worth of copper, gold and silver;

• copper operations in Carmen and Lutopan, Toledo City in Cebu City of Carmen Copper Corp. that raked in P11.12 billion;

• Coral Bay High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) Project in Palawan owned by Coral Bay Nickel Corp. with P10.4 billion;

• Philex Mining Corp.’s Padcal Copper-Gold Project in Benguet (P9.35 billion);

• gold project in Masbate of Filminera Mining Corp. and Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corp. (P9.27 billion);

• Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp.’s project in Surigao del Norte (P7.07 billion);

• Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Project in Agusan del Sur of Philsaga Mining Corp. and Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corp. (P5.74 billion);

• Platinum Group Metals Corp.’s Cagdianao Nickel Project in Surigao del Norte (P5.18 billion);

• Taganito’s Claver Nickel Project in Surigao del Norte (P5.17 billion); and

• Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp.’s Rio Tuba Nickel Project in Palawan (P3.69 billion).

The country hosts some 44 operating metallic mines, consisting of 27 nickel mines, six gold mines with silver as co-product, three copper mines with gold and silver as co-products, three chromite mines; and five iron mines.

These are in addition to the numerous small-scale gold mining operations.