Oct 212013

MANILA, Philippines – Lower commodity prices dragged down metal production value 7.89 percent in the first semester of the year, data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) showed.

Aggregate metal production value during the first six months of the year fell to P45.91 billion from P49.84 billion in the same period last year.

“Dictated by the less upbeat world metal prices, the precious metals gold and silver, and the base metals copper and nickel, all recorded negative movements during the review period,” the MGB said in a report.

Nickel production remained the top contributor to the aggregate production value for the period. Nickel direct shipping ore and mixed sulfides accounted for 41 percent of the output value, equivalent to P18.99 billion combined.

Gold comprised 34 percent of the production value, contributing P15.60 billion, while copper made up 22 percent of the production, contributing P9.97 billion.

The remaining three percent of the production value equivalent to P1.34 billion comprised silver, zinc, chromite and iron production.

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Average gold price during the first half fell 7.70 percent to $1,524.52 per troy ounce from $1, 651.69 per troy ounce in the same period last year.

“Despite this, demand from India and Greater China (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) remained strong,” said the MGB.

The six-month averages for copper and nickel also fell 7.54 percent and 13.13 percent respectively. Copper prices slipped to $3.39 per pound from $3.66 per pound, while nickel prices fell to $7.25 per pound from $8.34 per pound.

Several listed nickel producing companies reported lower incomes in the first half of the year on falling nickel prices.

Joining the production stream during the period were the Didipio copper-gold project of Oceanagold Philippines, Inc. in Nueva Vizcaya and the Guinabon Nickel Project of LNL Archipelago Minerals Inc. and Filipinas Mining Corp. in Zambales.

“The commencement of commercial operatation of Oceanagold Philippines Inc. is very significant as the company holds the first Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) approved by the government on June 20, 1994,” said the MGB.

The maiden production of the Didipio mine covered during the review period consisted of of 34,234 dry metric tons (MT) of copper, with an estimated value of P2.84 billion and 630 kilograms of gold valued at P1.21 billion.

The gold-copper mine has an estimated 34.82 million MT of ore reserve with a grade of 1.7 grams per ton of gold and 0.56 percent copper.

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