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Business

Metal output up 22% in 9 months

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star
Metal output up 22% in 9 months
Metallic mineral production value reached P121.16 billion, up 22.34 percent from P99.03 billion in the same period last year.
BusinessWorld / File

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s metal production sustained its double-digit growth in the first nine months, mainly driven by higher metal prices, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reported.

Metallic mineral production value reached P121.16 billion, up 22.34 percent from P99.03 billion in the same period last year.

“The strong metal price coupled with the better mine production of nickel ore during the review period was the vital factor for this development,” the MGB said.

The average price of copper registered a 57 percent jump during the period to $9,187.81 per metric ton (MT).

Average nickel prices also soared by 38 percent to $18,035.15 from $13,059.28 per MT.

The MGB reported that the prices of gold and silver also posted slight increments at $1,801.97 per troy ounce and $25.77 per troy ounce, respectively.

Nickel ore and other nickel by-products accounted for more than half or 58 percent of the total metal output during the period, raking in P70.83 billion, almost 40 percent higher than the same period last year.

Of the total, nickel direct shipping ore had a 67 percent contribution at P46.05 billion, higher than last year’s P27.66 billion production value.

Similarly, the production volume of nickel direct shipping ore also grew to 325, 848 MT.

Gold accounted for 31 percent of the total output value at P37.75 billion, up P36.4 billion in the same period last year.

Production volume of gold inched up to 13,356 kilos from 12,973 kilos a year ago.

Copper had an almost 10 percent share at P11.74 billion, seven percent higher than the P10.95 billion recorded in the same period last year.

However, copper production volumes slipped by 18 percent to 38,025 MT.

In addition, the collective values of silver, iron ore, and chromite were less than one percent of the total metal output at P0.84 billion.

Silver production volume declined by five percent to 16,875 kilograms from 17,853 kg.

Out of the total land area of the Philippines of 30 million hectares, the total area covered by mining tenements is only 745,685.48 hectares or 2.48 percent as of Oct. 31.

This only pertains to the permits issued by the national government and does not include the permits issued by the local government.

The MGB, however, said that with the issuance of executive order 130 by President Duterte earlier this year, the government can now approve mineral agreements.

Currently, there are 313 approved Mineral Production Sharing Agreements with a total land area of about 576,482.65 hectares, the MGB said.

The MGB is working diligently on the formalization and declaration of new Minahang Bayan areas.

A Minahang Bayan or People’s Small-Scale Mining Area is an area given by the government to small-scale miners under actual exploration, development, exploitation or commercial production.

For metallic minerals, commodities will be limited only to gold, silver, and chromite and shall have a term of two years, renewable for like periods but not to exceed a total term of six years, according to the MGB.

At present, there are 43 Minahan Bayan areas declared all over the country with 170 pending applications.

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