ORIENTAL Petroleum and Minerals Corp. (OPMC) has applied for permits to explore in Zambales and the Dinagat Islands for nickel and other associated metals, it said in stock market disclosure on Thursday.

It said applications were submitted to regional offices of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau for five areas in Zambales spanning around 13,816 hectares and two areas in Dinagat Islands covering around 863 hectares.

It said three out of the five areas in Zambales were already designated by the mining bureau’s office in Central Luzon with separate exploration permit application numbers.

The mining company said it is “authorized to conduct exploration and production of petroleum, minerals and renewable energy.”

Another disclosure will be posted to the Philippine Stock Exchange once the applications are converted to exploration permits, according to OPMC.

The company’s move to apply for exploration permits comes after the government lifted the four-year ban on open-pit mining on Dec. 23.

Incorporated in 1969, OPMC is a local exploration and production company engaged in upstream petroleum activities in the country.

Its petroleum operations are located mainly in Northwest Palawan. Most of its operational activities depend on its service contracts with the government.

OPMC has three wholly owned subsidiaries, namely: Oriental Mahogany Woodworks, Inc., Linapacan Oil Gas and Power Corp., and Oriental Land Corp.

In the third quarter of 2021, the company reported a net loss of $845,403, turning around from a net income of $1.29 million in the same quarter in 2020.

For the January-September period last year, however, the company posted a net income of $529,086, although lower by 82.2% than the $2.98 million recorded in the same three quarters a year earlier.

In the stock exchange on Thursday, OPMC shares went up by 20% or P0.002 to P0.012 each. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson