PH metal output value falls on low prices
MANILA, Philippines – The value of metal production in the Philippines fell by 5% in the first 9 months of 2013 on low metal prices, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
From January to September, the value of metal production stood at P74.519 billion, down from P78.847 billion in the same period last year.
This was partly due to weak world prices of precious and base metals.
"The softening of prices was due to reduced demand from China, the biggest user [of nickel and copper]," explained MGB Director Leo Jasareno.
As China's growth slowed down this year, manufacturing in the world's second-largest economy also lost steam leading to less production in sectors such as steel, which largely uses nickel. China is also the biggest consumer of copper, accounting for about 40% of world demand.
The 9-month average price of nickel was $6.93 per pound, down 14.27% from $8.09 per pound last year. The price of copper stood at US$3.33 per pound, compared to $3.61 per pound in 2012 – a 7.8% drop.
Prices of precious metals gold and silver also fell in the first 9 months. Gold prices were down 11.41% to $1,463.73 per troy ounce this year from $1,652.29 per troy ounce last year.
Silver dropped 18.9% to $24.89 per troy ounce this year from $30.69 per troy ounce in 2012.
Of the total metal production value of P74.519 billion, 43% was accounted for by direct shipments of nickel ore amounting to P31.8 billion.
Gold production made up 33% or P24.78 billion. Copper production took 21% or P16 billion of the pie. Silver, zinc, and chromite combined contributed 3% or P1.98 billion.
The following mining projects produced the most this year based on total production value:
- Masbate Gold Project of Filminera Mining Corporation and Philippine Gold Processing and Refining Corporation in Region V (P8.09 billion)
- Padcal Copper Copper-Gold Project of Philex Mining Corporation in the Cordillera Administrative Region (P7.52 billion)
- Didipio Copper-Gold Project of Oceana Gold Philippines, Inc. in Region II (P7.11 billion)
- Toledo Copper Project of Carmen Copper Corporation in Region VII (P6.83 billion)
- Carrascal Nickel Project of Carrascal Nickel Corporation in Region XIII (P3.79 billion)
The Philippines currently has 41 operating metallic mines, including:
- 24 nickel mines
- 6 gold mines wih silver as co-product
- 3 copper mines with gold and silver as co-products
- 3 chromite mines
- 3 iron mines
- 1 polymetallic mine with gold, silver, copper and zinc as products
- 1 copper mine with gold as co-products
The Philippine mining industry stands to receive P486 million worth of investments in the short term with the addition of several new mining projects, said Jasareno.
These include the Wellex Parcel 1 Nickel Mining Project of Wellex Mining Corporation and Norweah Metals and Minerals Company in Dinagal Island; and Larap Iron Project Inveswell Resources Corporation in Camarines Sur. – Rappler.com
Gold metal image from Shutterstock