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Benguet sinks to P19-M loss in Q1

MANILA, Philippines - Listed miner Benguet Corp. incurred a net loss of P18.6 million in the first quarter this year, a reversal of the P55 million profit in 2016 due to lower revenues following the suspension order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In a disclosure to the local bourse, Benguet said revenues fell 58 percent to P266 million owing to a decline in shipment volume of nickel ore due to the DENR order which halted the company’s operations.

The company shipped an aggregate volume of 53,500 metric tons (MT) of nickel ore, 87 percent down from the 405,185 MT shipped in the same period in 2016.

Total shipments decreased to just one boatload from eight, despite an increase in nickel ore prices to $25 per MT from $24.82 per MT in the comparative period.

The company was able to secure government permits for hauling and shipping of its nickel stockpiles from the mine site to prevent environmental risk during the coming rainy season.

On the other hand, gold produced during the quarter improved to 2,387 ounces from 2,132 ounces in 2016 due to higher tonnage milled.

This was coupled with the improved average realized gold price to $1,222 per ounce from $1,172 per ounce the previous year.

Benguet Corp. said it would continue to pursue legal remedies to overturn the cancellation order because of due process violations and the absence of legal basis.

Furthermore, the company expects improvement in its cash flows as it banks on better gold production and steady global market prices.

Aside from producing and marketing gold, nickel laterite ore, limestone, the company also provides logistics, port and shipping services, healthcare services, sells industrial equipment and supplies, and develops water resources and real estate projects.

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