DMCI Mining more than doubles nickel ore shipments

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DMCI Mining Corp. recorded a 118% increase in nickel ore shipments in the first quarter of 2019.

In a disclosure on Monday, DMCI Holdings said its mining unit more than doubled its nickel ore shipments to 338,000 wet metric tons (WMT) in the January to March period, from 156,000 WMT shipped a year ago.

“We had a good first quarter but we do not see this holding up for the rest of the year due to a number of factors, such as weak market prices, peso appreciation versus the US dollar and our dwindling nickel reserves in Berong’s active mine sites,” Cesar F. Simbulan, Jr., president of DMCI Mining, said in a statement.

DMCI Mining said the shipments came from Berong Nickel Corp. (BNC), which has a nickel mining site in Barangay Berong, Palawan. Another unit Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. (ZDMC) is still suspended by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The company noted average nickel grade fell to 1.59% in the first quarter, from 1.70% during the same period last year, as BNC’s shipments included middle-grade ore (1.50%). It said that nickel prices also continue to drop, bringing the average selling price 25% lower to $29.

DMCI Mining said that it expects a “tough” year ahead as its inventory will soon run out given the current situation of its Zambales plant.

BNC has an estimated nickel reserve of around 710,000 tons in its active mining sites. In December 2018, it was the only company that passed DENR’s two-year review.

“We hope that with BNC’s track record as a responsible miner, it will be allowed to operate in other areas so we can continue providing livelihood and employment opportunities in our host communities,” he said.

Shares in DMCI Holdings inched up 0.38% to P10.62 each on Monday. — V.M.P.Galang