Value of PH mine production hits P108.6 B in 2017 due to high prices » Manila Bulletin Business

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Value of PH mine production hits P108.6 B in 2017 due to high prices


By Madelaine B. Miraflor

While production was slightly down for the country’s mineral commodities, their value grew by almost 6 percent to  P108.64 billion in 2017 as prices improved and nickel — which is widely used in over 300,000 products for industrial, transport, consumer and architectural applications — made a big comeback in terms of cost.

For the calendar year (CY) 2017, the Philippines’ metallic mineral production value advanced by 5.73 percent, or P5.89 billion, from P102.75 billion in 2016 to P108.64 billion.

The positive performance was due to the improved trend in world metal prices brought about by tight supply and robust metal demand, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said yesterday.

To be exact, the leading metals copper, nickel and gold all enjoyed upturns during the period.

“Prices were primarily driven by stronger demand from China’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors coupled with supply disruptions in the world’s key copper and nickel mines,” MGB said.

As of now, Philippines has remained one of the world’s biggest nickel exporters, with bulk of its production being shipped to China.

In terms of contribution to the country’s metallic production value, MGB said that “performance-wise, among the metals, nickel made the biggest comeback in 2017, closing-in on the contribution of the yellow metal, with a difference of P2.96 billion.”

To be exact, the combined output of nickel direct shipping ore (DSO) and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide (MNCS) took the second spot with 39 percent, or P42.67 billion, share, while gold accounted for the lion’s share with 42 percent, or P45.63 billion.

In 2016, gold outperformed nickel by a whopping P7.21 billion.

Third was copper with 18 percent, or P19.30 billion, as contribution. The remaining 1 percent, or P1.04 billion, came from the collective values of silver and chromite.

As for prices, top gainers were the base metals copper and nickel with 23.29 percent and 7.57 percent growths, respectively.  From an average price of $2.20 per pound in 2016, copper price went up to US$2.72 per pound in 2017.  Nickel likewise grew from US$4.35 per pound to US$4.68 per pound year-on-year.

Gold followed suit, with its average price accelerating by about US$10.21 per troy ounce, from US$1,247.44 per troy ounce to US$1,257.65 per troy ounce, year-on-year.

As for production, nickel DSO went down by 6 percent from 24.9 million dry metric tons (DMT) to 23.35 million DMT, while MNCS improved by 5 percent from 83,339 DMT to 87,612

Gold’s production, on the other hand, went down by 2 percent from 23,053 kilograms (KGS) in 2016 to 22,699 KGS, while silver’s output declined by 10 percent from 35,186 KGS to 31,748 KGS. Copper production was also down by 16 percent from 335,665 DMT to 280,394.

United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the decline was still due to the continued suspension of as many as one-half of the country’s mining operations for failing to meet environmental standards.

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