According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the value of metallic minerals produced by Philippine mines jumped by 17% YoY to about PHP 22 billion in the Q1.
Mr Leo L Jasareno director of MGB said that this growth was driven by gold production, despite declining prices in the three month period involved.
From January to March, mines turned out PHP 8.48 billion worth of gold that represents 39% or close to two fifths of total output. Gold output surged 17% in value and 31% in volume to reach 4,509 kilograms.
Mr Jasareno cited the Didipio and Padcal gold and copper projects in Nueva Vizcaya and Benguet, respectively, as well as the Toledo copper project in Cebu as the main drivers of Q1 production.
OceanaGold Corporation said that the Didipio mine which started commercial operation in April 2013 posted a record quarterly gold production of 30,480 ounces.
Mr Jasareno said that Q1 gold output improved despite prices going down by as much as 21% YoY to USD 1,292.93 per troy ounce from USD 1,631.81. Similarly, prices of the base metals nickel and copper fell by 15% and 11% respectively.
Direct shipping of nickel ore and nickel sulfides accounted for the second biggest bulk of mine output, pegged at PHP 7.65 billion or 35% of total. The value of directly shipped nickel products fell by 14% which was attributed to the unfavorable weather condition that prevailed over the areas of Dinagat and Surigao provinces early this year.
Mr Jasareno said that nickel mining is weather-sensitive because this is done on the surface instead of underground. Of the 27 nickel mining projects in the country, 18 are operating in the said areas. And of these 18 projects, 11 reported zero production for the Q1.”
He said that further, copper production represented barely a quarter (24%) of total, valued at PHP 5.34 billion. The remaining 2% of mine output are in the form of silver, zinc, iron ore and chromite.
Source – Business Inquirer