DMCI Mining Corp. said nickel shipments went up by 88% in the first half of 2018, but expects no shipments to be made in the second semester due to the shutdown of its Zambales operations as well as the depletion of its stockpile in Palawan.
The Consunji-led miner said in a statement that it shipped 482,762 wet metric tons (WMT) from January to June, higher than the 257,120 WMT it shipped in the same period a year ago.
The average selling price per metric ton of nickel stood at $39, 10% higher than its price of $35 in the same period a year ago. Average nickel grade also improved by 11% to 1.73%. In the second quarter alone, average nickel grade rose by eight percent to 1.75%.
“We had a really good first semester. Our subsidiaries were able to ship more high-grade nickel ore at a higher selling price,” DMCI Mining President Cesar F. Simbulan, Jr. was quoted as saying in a statement.
Around 430,000 WMT came from the old stockpile of Berong Nickel Corp. (BNC) in Palawan, while the remaining 50,000 WMT were sourced from Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. (ZDMC).
BNC shipped 327,000 WMT in the second quarter alone, while ZMDC had no shipments since it has yet the secure its port permit.
The positive performance for the first semester came amid the closure of ZDMC and a suspension order against BNC, following the government’s crackdown on mining firms last year. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) however allowed suspended mining companies to ship out their old stockpile to limit the possible accumulation of silt in nearby bodies of water.
DMCI Mining is expecting a slower performance in the second half, given the continued suspension of its mining operations.
“We project no shipments in the second half. In Zambales, we have a problem with existing suspension. In Palawan, mas madali mag-ship pero weather lang ang hinihintay (it’s easier to ship but we have to wait for good weather), it’s not cooperative,” DMCI Mining Chief Finance Officer Aldric G. Borlaza said in a press briefing in Makati City on Monday.
“Di ka pwede mag-mine ng bago (You cannot start a new mine), you can only sell existing stockpile. Once you’ve declared it before (the suspension), once verified before the DENR, you are allowed to ship,” he added.
Mr. Borlaza said they currently have around 500,000 WMT in BNC, which could last until the second quarter of 2019. The company is eyeing two shipments a month, with 50,000 WMT for each shipment.
Meanwhile, the company has around 250,000 MT of mid-grade nickel from ZMDC, but this will only be shipped depending on demand from the market.
Asked whether the company has talked with DENR regarding the suspension order against mining firms, Mr. Borlaza said there are ongoing discussions but the department has yet to decide whether to reverse the existing order.
DMCI Minings saw its net income soar by 978% to P248 million in the second quarter of 2018. This pushed earnings for the first half by 731% to P316 million, amid a 144% increase in revenues to P978 million for the period. — Arra B. Francia