Nickel ore shipments from the Philippines may be jeopardized by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of an anti-mining crusader to head the country’s environment department, a move that may potentially disrupt supplies to Chinese buyers.
“We might see an imminent crackdown on Philippines’ small mines,” Sam Xia, an analyst at China Merchants Futures Ltd., said from Shenzhen on Wednesday, a day after Regina “Gina” Lopez, 61, managing director of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc., said that she’d accept the role. “This will reduce its nickel ore exports, including to China.”
The Philippines has emerged as the key supplier of nickel ore to Asia’s top economy after Indonesia halted shipments in January 2014 in a bid to promote local processing.
Duterte, who takes office on June 30, told a forum this week that he will review all mining claims, and has referred to problematic mining in Surigao, a province that ships ore to China.
The ore is used to make nickel, which is used in stainless steel.
Lopez criticized miners’ track record in comments to ABS-CBN News Channel late Tuesday, saying that she didn’t like the industry as it harmed the environment and hurt the poor.
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