Metallic yield may breach P200B in 2022

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THE Philippines’s metallic production this year may breach the P200-billion mark for the first time in history, driven by elevated world prices and improved mine output.

Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) Chairman Michael T. Toledo said there is a huge possibility that the full-year value of local metallic output would hit at least P200 billion driven by favorable production factors.

“There is a big possibility that will happen,” Toledo told the BusinessMirror in an interview on the sidelines of a recent forum.

“If mining is allowed to flourish, it can definitely bring in increased production, increased export receipt, productivity and employment opportunities. Just allow it to flourish sustainably and responsibly,” Toledo added.

Toledo explained that the drivers behind better mineral production performance this year were higher global demand for nickel and copper, depreciation of the peso and volatility in the world market.

Bulk of the country’s mineral output is being exported for value-adding and processing in countries with sufficient downstream capabilities.

“Mining has been demonized for allegedly being anti-environment. But now, [it is] actually [a] manna from heaven in a sense, as far as climate change is concerned,” he said.

“Most of the renewable technologies rely on the minerals that are mined. Electric vehicles need nickel and solar panels need copper,” he added.

The value of the country’s mineral production from January to September rose by 29.21 percent on an annual basis to P175.61 billion driven by “bullish” metal prices and increased mine output.

Historical Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) data showed that the value of mineral production during the 9-month period already surpassed by P14.7 billion the P160.91-billion output recorded for the whole 2021.

“The important factors for this development were the bullish metal prices of nickel ore and gold paired with the increased mine output of gold, silver, chromite, and iron ore during the period,” the MGB said.

MGB data showed that the value of production of gold, silver, copper concentrate, nickel direct shipping ore, chromite and iron ore all increased on an annual basis during the 9-month period.

“Nickel ore enjoyed a 47.21-percent or US$3.84 increment from $8.13 per lb. to US$11.97 per lb. year-on-year. Based on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas [BSP] price bulletin gold stepped up with a $24.51 or 1.36-percent increase from $1,801.97 per troy ounce to $1,826.47 per troy ounce year-on-year,” MGB said. Gold output rose by 28 percent year-on-year to P67.449 billion while silver production more than doubled to P1.519 billion, based on MGB data.

In terms of quantity, gold production increased by 17 percent to 21,836 kilograms from last year’s 18,715 kilograms. Meanwhile, silver output more than doubled to 41,710 kilograms from 18,045 kilograms.

Output of nickel direct shipping ore from January to September reached P46.824 billion, slightly higher than the previous year’s P45.969 billion, MGB data showed. However, the volume of nickel direct shipping ore fell by 17 percent year-on-year to 22.525 dry metric tons. MGB data also showed that the value of mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide production expanded by 63 percent year-on-year to P39.805 billion while the value of copper concentrate output rose 62 percent on an annual basis to P18.985 billion.

The country’s chromite production ballooned by 981 percent year-on-year to P936.407 million on the back of a 829-percent increase in quantity (100,477 dry metric tons from 10,816 dry metric tons), according to the MGB.