PHILIPPINE metal production by value rose 22.83% in the first quarter on stronger prices and higher output of gold, nickel ore, and chromite, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

In a report, the MGB said the value of production was P58.92 billion, of which gold accounted for P27.74 billion or 47.08%.

Nickel ore and other nickel byproducts were valued at P23.85 billion, copper P6.52 billion, and combined output of silver, chromite, and iron P0.81 billion.

The price of gold increased by $14.14 from a year earlier to $1,889.05 per troy ounce.

Nickel ore prices fell to $12.74 per pound during the quarter from $11.78 a year earlier while those of copper fell to $4.53 per pound from $4.05.

Silver prices dropped $1.02 year on year to $22.94 per troy ounce.

“If we go beyond the review period by looking closely at the second half of 2022, the prices during the first quarter of 2023 were still at a higher level and prices are still way above their pre-pandemic levels,” the MGB noted.

In terms of volume, gold output grew 17% to 8,327 kilograms while that of nickel direct shipping ore rose 5% to 3,997,829 dry metric tons (DMT).

Chromite production increased 14% year on year to 20,496 DMT.

Copper and iron ore production, on other hand, dropped 0.17% to 64,730 DMT and 24% to 33,497 DMT, respectively.

“The outlook for the minerals sector remains optimistic with the expected growth in the demand for nickel and gold,” the bureau said.

“This expectation will be driven by the lifting of China’s zero COVID-19 policy last December,” it added.

The MGB also reported that the government is “looking for ways to level up the country’s mineral markets in the field of semi-processed and fully processed mineral products” through establishing processing, refineries, and downstream industries.

“This move will also strategically position the country both in the value chain and the global supply chain and eventually level up its position from a mere vendor of ores,” the MGB said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera