OCEANAGOLD Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) is poised for enhanced financial performance this year, buoyed by the upward trend in global gold and copper prices, the company’s president said. 

“The positive outlook for gold and copper definitely helps,” OGPI President and General Manager for External Affairs and Social Performance Joan D. Adaci-Cattiling told BusinessWorld over the weekend.

In the first quarter, the average gold price rose to $2,070.05 per troy ounce from $1,889.05 the previous year, according to Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

Copper prices averaged $3.83 per pound, declining from $4.05 per pound a year earlier. However, the global shift to green energy and the limited supply is expected to bolster copper prices, according to Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.

Ms. Cattiling said that even modest increases in metal prices could potentially elevate OGPI’s free cash flows by approximately 7 to 8%. 

She said the guidance is “under the assumption that OGPI’s production comprises 71% gold and the rest copper.

For the first three months, the company’s net income dropped by 47.9% to $11.5 million from $22.1 million in 2023.

The company operates the Didipio gold and copper mine in Nueva Vizcaya.

By the second half of the year, OceanaGold expects to increase its ore production.

“We’re following our mine plan, and the second half of the year sees a higher production,” OceanaGold General Manager David John Bickerton said.

“We’ve been moving the dirt. We’ve been moving low-grade dirt to access some of the high-grade (areas) later in the year,” he added.

Gold sales for first quarter totaled 31,863 ounces. It sold 33% of the first-quarter gold doré to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Similarly, copper production dropped by 22% to 3,015 tons from 3,500 tons during the same period in 2023. Copper sales were at 3,180 ounces.

The company is targeting to produce 120,000 to 135,000 ounces of gold and 12,000 to 14,000 tons of copper this year.

“We’ve been fairly consistent on hitting our guidance… We’re always striving to make more ounces every year, but importantly it’s to stick to the plan,” Mr. Bickerton said. — Adrian H. Halili