PHILEX MINING Corp. (Philex) reported a 50.5% decline in its first-quarter net income attributable to equity holders to P102.3 million, while turning in a positive core profit due to higher metal output and better gold prices during the period.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday, the copper and gold producer said its core reached P103 million, reversing losses of P112 million the previous year.

Revenues during the first quarter rose 15.5% to P1.71 billion, from P1.48 billion the company had in the same period last year.

In the first quarter, Philex said that its total tonnage milled rose 7% to 1.969 million tons from 1.832 million tons during the first quarter of 2019.

“The continuing improvement in the mining procedures, resulted in the increase of the final blended metal grades for both gold and copper,” it said.

The company’s gold production for the first quarter increased by 35% to 14,159 ounces, from 10,493 ounces in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, copper output went up 18% to 6.738 million pounds, against the 5.727 million pounds in the similar period the previous year.

Total costs and expenses of Philex fell 4.5% to P1.57 billion due to lower cost of power, materials and supplies usage during the period.

Philex said it was “affected by the limited disruption in its supply chain during the first two weeks of the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine” in the National Capital Region and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) where most of the supplies originate.

However, it said the full impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to its medium- and long-term business operations has yet to be seen.

Philex President and Chief Executive Officer Eulalio B. Agustin, Jr. said that due to the executive order made by the governor of Surigao del Norte, all mining companies including its Silangan project and all mineral processing plants in the province had to suspend operations until the lifting of the local quarantine.

On Thursday, shares of the mining company rose by 5.38% or P0.12 to close at P2.35 each.

Philex Mining Corp. is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and PLDT Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave