MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines’ mining watchdog has recommended lifting the suspension of a small-sized nickel miner, one of several ore producers ordered in 2016 to halt operations in an industry-wide crackdown, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) recommended that Zambales Diversified Metals Corp – one of two nickel subsidiaries of DMCI Mining Corp – be allowed to resume mining operations, Environment Undersecretary Analiza Teh said.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) lifted the suspension order on DMCI Mining’s other nickel subsidiary, Berong Nickel Corp, in November last year.
The Philippines was the world’s second-largest producer of nickel ore in 2018, selling most of its output to top buyer China. In 2020, when last year’s top producer Indonesia is due to ban its ore exports, China is expected to rely mainly on nickel ore from the Philippines, according to analysts.
DMCI Mining, a unit of DMCI Holdings Inc, had said in March that it expected 2019 to be a tough year, with one of its two mines still suspended and its inventory almost depleted.