Challenging times ahead for Philippine mining companies – by Ronnel W. Domingo (Philippine Daily Inquirer – November 4, 2016)

Prospects for mining over the next several years have been described as “challenging” by no less than the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) itself. Within the industry, particularly for many, if not most of the public players (in the Philippines or bourses elsewhere), the pervading mood is uncertainty, although there is a counterpoint of buoyancy.

The MGB’s mineral economics, information and publication division—the parent agency of which recently announced that the operations of 20 more metallic mines are recommended for suspension—observes that the audit of existing mines, along with a moratorium on new mines, is “responsible for industry prospects remaining to be challenging.”

“The suspension of another two nickel mines in Palawan is expected to further contribute to the overall sluggish performance of the metallic sector in 2016,” the MGB says. The bureau refers to the Berong nickel project (DMCI’s Berong Nickel Corp.) and Toronto and Pulot nickel projects (ORE’s Citinickel Mines and Development Corp.).

Also failing the audit are 12 other nickel mines—all in Mindanao and most in Dinagat Islands—as well as three gold-silver mines; one copper-gold-silver mine; and two chromite mines.

“Should the recommended suspension ensue, the possible impact of the suspension is a decline in mineral production, lower taxes collected and increased number of displaced mine workers,” the MGB says.

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