METALLIC mineral production in the first nine months fell 4.75% year-on-year to P94.99 billion due to disruptions caused by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said.
In a report Friday, the MGB said nickel ore and its by-products such as mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide and scandium accounted for 50.8% of the value of production or P48.22 billion, followed by gold at 36.7% or P34.85 billion, copper at 11.5% or P10.95 billion, and silver, chromite, and iron at a combined 1.02% or P966.05 million.
The MGB said the price of gold and silver rose during the period.
The average price of gold rose 27% year-on-year to $1,735.16 per troy ounce, while silver rose 21.6% year-on-year to $19.22.
“Analysts remain confident that demand for gold, as a store of value or the safe haven of investment, will continue during the rest of the year due to the global economic slowdown,” the MGB said.
The MGB added that the average global price of nickel fell 2.6% to $13,059.28 per tonne, while the price of copper declined 3.2% to $5,837.89 per tonne.
By volume, nickel ore output fell 12% to 233,521 metric tons (MT).
Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC) in Surigao del Norte led all nickel ore producers at 53,541 MT, followed by Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. (RTNMC) in Palawan at 35,451 MT, and Platinum Group Nickel Corp. (PGMC) in Surigao del Norte at 26,112 MT.
“The TMC and RTNMC production figures include the nickel ores delivered to Taganito HPAL Mining Corp. (THPAL) and Coral Bay Nickel Corp. (CBNC), respectively,” the MGB said.
Output of mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide rose 3% year-on-year to 39,708 MT, worth an estimated P22.80 billion.
THPAL accounted for 62% or 24,579 MT of total output, followed by CBNC with 38% or 15,129 MT.
Gold production fell 21.4% to 12,833 kilograms valued at P34.85 billion.
Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corp. in Masbate was the top gold producer, accounting for 35% or 4,437 kilograms, followed by Mindanao Mineral Processing and Refining Corp. in Agusan del Sur with 18% or 2,336 kilograms.
Silver production declined 28.2% to 17,853 kilograms valued at P545.82 million .
The top silver producer was Apex Mining Co. Inc. accounting for 48% or 8,535 kilograms, followed by Philippine Gold Refining and Processing Corp. (PGPRC) at 18% or 3,280 kilograms, and Philex Mining Corp. at 11% or 1,933 kilograms.
Copper production fell 17.9% to 46,520 MT, valued at P10.95 billion.
Carmen Copper Corp. accounting for 79.59% or 37,024 MT, followed by Philex Mining Corp. with 19.73% or 9,180 MT, and Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. with 0.68% or 316 MT.
In a mobile phone message, MGB Director Wilfredo G. Moncano expects output for the sector to improve going forward.
“The outlook for nickel will be good both for production volume and price,” Mr. Moncano said.
Mr. Moncano said non-traditional sources of mining production can also help the sector’s growth such as dredging and river restoration projects.
Separately, the MGB said it issued a memorandum on Nov. 16 that authorized its regional offices to allow mining companies to re-align their unutilized funds under the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) to assist victims of recent typhoons within their communities.
According to MGB data, the metallic mining industry accounted for 0.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave