PHL 9-month metal output value rises by 7.28% on high nickel prices

PHL 9-month metal output value rises by 7.28% on high nickel prices

METAL production rose 7.28% year on year by value to P189.08 billion in the nine months to September, according to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

In a report, the MGB said nickel ore and other nickel byproducts accounted for 47.6% of the total, generating P89.99 billion during the period.

By volume, nickel direct shipping ore rose 24.08% year on year to 28.9 million dry metric tons (DMT), valued at P53.54 billion.

“Caraga, the nickel capital of the Philippines, accounted for 62% with 17.75 million DMT, followed by Mimaropa with about 15% or 4.43 million DMT, while Regions VIII and III accounted for about 14% or 3.94 million DMT and 9% or 2.53 million DMT, respectively,” it said.

Prices for nickel ore declined to $10.39 per pound during the period from $11.97 per pound a year earlier.

Gold accounted for 41.07% of metal output by value during the period with P77.65 billion. It was followed by copper at P18.79 billion and the combination of silver, chromite, and iron at P2.64 billion.

The price of gold increased 5.78% or $105.6 from a year earlier to $1,932.07 per troy ounce.

“The increased interest in gold investment brought about by the continued high inflation rate together with the economic slowdown pushed prices of these metals higher,” the MGB said citing analysts.

Gold production increased to 22,935 kilograms (kg) for the nine-month period.

Cagayan Valley accounted for 21% or 4,829 kg of the gold produced, followed by Bicol with 20% or 4,601 kg, and Davao region with 2,062 kg.

The average price of copper during the period fell to $3.9 per pound from $4.12 a year earlier.

The production of copper rose 2% to 195,533 DMT, with increased production accompanied by a decline in value to P18.79 billion.

Carmen Copper Corp. accounted for 56% of the total. The company reported an 11% increase in volume to 110,252 DMT.

“Both Philex Mining Corp. and OGPI (OceanaGold Philippines, Inc.) sustained production shortfalls of 11% and 3%, respectively,” the report said.

Silver prices rose 7.32% to $23.55 per troy ounce. Output fell 14% to 35,784 kg.

“Backed up by industrial demand in the solar sector, the price of silver, on the other hand, is projected to stay high,” it added.

Iron ore production rose 37% to 78,213 DMT, while chromite output grew to 67,877 DMT during the period.

The MGB said that due to the shift to renewable technology, critical minerals like gold, nickel, cobalt, copper, and iron, will continue to be in demand.

“Founded on this premise the outlook for the mining industry remains strong,” it added.

Asked to comment, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Chief Economist Michael L. Ricafort said that the supply chain for renewable energy and electric vehicles will continue to drive growth in the metallic minerals industry.

“Demand will be sustained by the shift towards renewable power from coal and other petroleum power sources amid the commitment by more companies and countries to reduce carbon emissions… these will sustain demand for mineral resources used as inputs,” Mr. Ricafort said in a Viber message.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Head of Sales Luis A. Limlingan said that the recovery of the Chinese economy will drive demand for critical minerals.

“Many will be watching whether China’s economy can recover heading into next year as they are one of the world’s major consumers and drivers of demand for metal prices,” Mr. Limlingan said in a Viber message.

The MGB also said that due to domestic nickel supply concerns in Indonesia, Chinese demand for nickel ore from the Philippines will rise.

It added that it expects 12 projects to start within the next six months, which could further boost exports given the high demand in global markets. — Adrian H. Halili