THE value of production generated by metal mines rose 6.5% year-on-year in the first nine months to P99.58 billion, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said.

The MGB said in a statement that nickel accounted for 48% or P47.36 billion of the total for the period, due to larger volumes shipped which offset a decline in nickel prices.

Gold accounted for 37% or P36.9 billion; copper 14% or P14.4 billion; and silver and chromite 1% or P900 million.

Prices of nickel, copper, and silver fell during the period. Gold prices rose by an average of 6% year-on-year to $1,362.99.

“The nine-month average of copper and nickel declined 9.45% and 1.31%, respectively. Copper price dropped from $3 per pound to $2.72 per pound, year-on-year,” the MGB said. However, it noted that nickel prices have been rising in the third quarter.

“The nickel ore export ban in Indonesia is expected to boost prices, which will be a welcome development for the country’s nickel producers. This will naturally increase the demand for our nickel ore,” MGB said.

In 2018, Indonesia was the world’s top nickel producer at 560,000 tons, followed by the Philippine with 340,000 tons. Both countries’ top market is China.

Top gold producers were Masbate Gold Project of the Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp., controlled by the Filiminera Mining Corp., which accounted for 32% or 5,182 kilograms (kg) worth P11.78 billion. This was followed by the Didipio Copper-Gold Project of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. and the Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corp. of Philsaga Mining Corp. with 2,637 kg and 2,596 kg, respectively.

For silver production, the Apex Maco Operation of Apex Mining Company, Inc. had a 34% share or 8,518kg worth P227.29 million. OceanaGold’s Didipio produced 4,093kg worth P107.2 billion.

Carmen Copper Corp.’s Toledo Copper Operation topped copper production with a 65% share or 36,986 metric tons (MT) worth P8.34 billion. OceanaGold’s Didipio followed with 10,186 MT, Philex Mining Corp.’s Padcal Copper-Gold operation produced 8,555 MT, and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. produced 951 MT.

Taganito Mining Corp. was the top nickel producer with 65,659 MT worth P5.87 billion, followed by Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. with 35,684 MT worth P2.81 billion. Both are units of Nickel Asia Corp. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang