The nationwide audit that Environment Secretary Gina Lopez enforced on all mining companies, which already resulted to suspension of some of them, have further taken a toll on the Philippine metallic mineral production.
And Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Mario Luis Jacinto said this trend will likely carry on throughout the entire year amid possible suspension of more mining companies.
The Philippine metallic mineral production value suffered an 11-percent setback during the first three quarters of this year, compared to the same period last year, from P85.47 billion in 2015 to P75.93 billion in 2016.
MGB data said poor base metal prices of nickel and copper coupled with the suspension of six nickel mines in the provinces of Palawan and Zambales led to the anemic performance of the metallic sector.
In terms of percentage contribution to the total production value, gold continued to outpace the others, accounting for 44 percent or P33.57 billion, followed by direct shipping nickel ore and mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide with 37 percent, or P28.21 billion.
Copper, on the other hand, shared 18 percent or P13.32 billion, while the remaining 1 percent or P0.84 billion came from the collective values of silver, chromite and iron ore.
Individual performance of the nickel mines were also significantly affected by the sluggish price of nickel in the international market.
“In September, 2016 alone, we saw nickel price nosedived to US$2.67 per pound. The lowest price to be recorded since 2002. Nickel price went down by as much as 30 percent since the start of the year from US$3.84 per lb. in January 2016 to US$2.67 per pound in September 2016,” MGB said.