D-Day Looms for Nickel Market as Top Shipper Checks on Mines – by Cecilia Yap (Bloomberg News – September 2, 2016)


The global nickel market will discover the severity of the Philippines’ mining audit next Thursday as President Rodrigo Duterte’s government presents the findings of the checkup and announces support for communities affected by any further suspensions. Benchmark prices surged.

The audit in the world’s largest mined nickel supplier has been completed after 16 teams fanned out across the country to assess compliance with environment and welfare rules, according to Leo Jasareno, the official in charge of the examination. The results and community-support program will be presented by Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, Jasareno said in an interview in Manila.

“It’s not about money, it’s about happiness,” said Environment Undersecretary Jasareno, a former head of the mines bureau with almost four decades’ of experience in the industry. The government and Lopez “would not want to see a mine profitably operating but filled with complaints,” he said.

The crackdown helped to lift nickel to the highest level in a year last month as some mines were suspended, tightening global supplies and fanning speculation that more significant disruption could follow. Cargoes from the Southeast nation are a vital source of nickel for China’s stainless-steel industry, and account for about 20 percent of global mined output.

Duterte, a plainspoken politician who was sworn in June 30, has said his country can do without the mining industry entirely, while Lopez has also been a critic.

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