The country’s nickel mine production is expected to decrease by up to 20 percent next year due to various regulations set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as the movement of nickel prices in the world market.
“It’s likely that the production would be reduced [by] 10 to 20 percent,” said Dante Bravo, president of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA), in a press conference in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Nickel mine output for this year reached about 30 million wet metric tons (WMT) or 19.5 million MT, after separation from the fluid. In 2017, nickel production was 36 million WMT or 23.4 million MT.
The decline on nickel mine production started in 2016 after it posted a 31.4-percent production cut due to unfavorable weather conditions, low prices in the international market, and DENR’s suspension of mining operations, ordered by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez, due to their detrimental effects to the environment, particularly the watersheds.
“If you limit the open areas, that means you lose certain flexibility because the mineralization across mining concessions [differ],” said Bravo, who is also the president of Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. (FNI), the country’s second largest nickel ore exporter.
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