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Monday, October 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
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Date posted: Friday, December 11, 2015 | Manila, Philippines

Mining and Quarrying

Nickel brings back shine to minerals sector

IF THERE IS ONE company that raised the flag of the mining sector in 2014, then it would have to be Nickel Asia Corp., which that year regained its lost luster, thanks to Indonesia’s ore export ban.

That ban, starting January of last year, drove China to the Philippines, looking for nickel among other minerals.

Being the Philippines’ biggest nickel producer, Nickel Asia more than doubled the value of its shipments to P23.7 billion from P10.3 billion in 2013.

Nickel Asia President Gerard H. Brimo said the company exceeded its sales targets last year, as prices held up for the most part of 2014.

In fact, Nickel Asia was a standout among mining and oil firms in this year’s Top 1000 Corporations, after its gross revenue shot up 338% year on year.

Nickel Asia’s impressive growth reflected the industry’s revival, as gross value added in the mining and quarrying sector climbed 4.9%, faster than the 1.2% the previous year. According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), mineral production hit a record high last year. Value of total metal production rose 38% to P137.53 billion from P99.38 billion in 2013.

Nickel production nearly doubled to account for more than half of the value of the sector’s total output. This as volume rose by nearly a fifth, whereas prices climbed to $14,935 last year from $13,905 in 2013.

The 25 mining and quarrying companies on this year’s Top 1000 Corporations grossed P214.47 billion in revenue, up by 32.5% from the previous year.

Chevron Malampaya LLC and Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. bested their peers, earning P27.89 billion and P25.51 billion, respectively, in 2014. The two companies provide technical expertise and manpower to the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power project.

Going forward, the MGB is not as upbeat about the mining sector’s performance this year, given weaker demand brought about by a slowing Chinese economy. China’s slowdown has led to high metal inventories, dampening commodity prices.

With China’s woes seemingly here to stay, prices of metal products are expected to plummet in the coming months. -- Kia B. Obang

*Send e-mail to Kia at kbobang@bworldonline.com or follow her on Twitter @kiaobang.

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