Philippine Nickel Ore Exports May Drop 30%, Top Miner Says – by Ian C. Sayson (Bloomberg News – September 4, 2016)

Shipments of nickel ore from the Philippines may shrink by as much as 30 percent this year as the world’s top supplier cracks down on errant miners and after some companies cut output in the first half due to weak prices and poor weather, according to the head of one of the biggest producers.

Volumes are expected to drop at least 20 percent compared with a year earlier, Dante Bravo, president and chief executive officer of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. said in an interview. The suspension of mines during an audit initiated by new President Rodrigo Duterte means that more than 100,000 metric tons of contained nickel production have been lost, Bravo said, citing a company estimate.

“This audit is a follow-through of what President Duterte said during the campaign, that he will take a look into mining,” said Bravo, adding that Global Ferronickel’s operations had been assessed and “we have complied with everything.”

While the latest audit applies the same rules as in earlier investigations of the industry, “what’s changed is the person in charge and the approach in regulation and administration,” he said.

The global nickel market is waiting for the full outcome of the examination amid concern that further mine suspensions may hurt supplies, potentially lifting prices that gained to a one-year high last month.

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