MANILA, Dec 2 The Philippine government will suspend more mines in a fight against environmental degradation, the minister in charge of mining said, a move that could put future supply from the world’s top exporter at risk and lift nickel prices.
Nickel on the London Metal Exchange recovered nearly 1 percent from Friday’s lows on the potential for supply disruption after the minister’s comments.
The Southeast Asian nation has already halted 10 of its 41 mines in a campaign backed by President Rodrigo Duterte against what the government says is irresponsible mining. Twenty more are facing possible suspension and the agency in charge of the review may issue a ruling next week.
“There will definitely be suspensions, but we have to go over the list,” Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez told Reuters by phone on Friday. Lopez said the list will be finalised “very soon, next week at the latest.”
Fourteen of the 20 mines facing suspension are nickel producers, and along with the eight of 10 already halted, they accounted for more than half of the Philippines’ nickel ore output last year. Nearly all of the output is shipped to China, where shipments of nickel ore and concentrate from the Philippines have dropped 12.5 percent over January-October.
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