THE VALUE of the metallic minerals industry’s output in the first half rose 39.42% to P112.66 billion, driven by strong prices of gold, copper and nickel, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

Nickel ore and other nickel products accounted for P51.32 billion of the total, the MGB said. Gold accounted for P46.44 billion, copper P12.84 billion, and the combined output of silver, chromite, and iron ore P2.07 billion. 

“It is significant to note that production of chromite and iron has been expanding recently primarily because of the contribution of Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. for chromite and Ore Asia Mining & Development Corp. for iron ore,” the MGB said.

“Of the current 55 operating metallic mines listed, only 39 mines reported production, the remaining 16 or 29% reported zero production and/or (were placed in) care and maintenance status,” it added.

In terms of volume, nickel direct shipping ore output fell 20% to 10.82 million dry metric tons (DMT), it said.

“Factors seen to have caused lower mine output would be the wet weather conditions together with lower demand from our major trading partner China due to their prolonged lockdowns,” the MGB said.

Surigao del Norte accounted for almost a quarter of nickel ore output at 2.66 million DMT.

This was followed by Palawan with 2.52 million DMT, Zambales with 1.71 million DMT, Surigao del Sur with 1.49 million DMT, and Agusan del Norte with 1.13 million DMT.

The MGB said that there are 32 listed operating nickel mines in the Philippines and more nickel mine projects are in the pipeline.

“Although their projected mine output is yet to be disclosed, suffice to say that these projects will significantly beef up nickel ore production in the country. With electric vehicles very much in the offing, we see demand for nickel growing,” the agency said.

“When it comes to minerals endowment, the Philippines is among the fortunate countries abundantly endowed with nickel, gold, copper, and other significant and important minerals,” it added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson