The country’s metallic production value posted with 39.42% growth in the first half (H1) in 2022 from P80.81 billion P112.66 billion, year-on-year, according to Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB). Strong metal price of gold, copper, and nickel, year-on- year, notably was the driving force for the positive move, except for silver which went down from US$26.49 per troy ounce to US$23.30 per troy ounce.

The MGB report further disclosed that gold purchases of Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) accounted for 3,673 kilograms with an estimated value of PhP11.55 billion this includes the gold sold by Benguet Corporation and Loacan Itogon Pocket Miners Association located in Benguet to BSP. The price of gold was impressive at US$1,874.47 per troy ounce in contrast with last year’s H1 average price of US$1,808.59 per troy ounce, up by US$65.88 per troy ounce.

The highest monthly average price enjoyed was in March 2022 at US$1,950.27 while the price in June 2021 seemingly mirrors that of June 2022 at US$1,838.19 and US$1,838.23, respectively. Reported local mine production also grew for gold, silver, copper, nickel products (mixed nickel cobalt sulfide and scandium oxalate), chromite, and iron ore. Gold came in second accounting for 41.22% or P46.44 billion Copper took the third spot contributing PhP12.84 billion or 11.39%. While combined mine output of silver, chromite, and iron ore accounted for about 1.83% or P2.07 billion.

Government Policy Direction In the long term, the policy direction of the government is gearing towards: (1) Construction of modular processing plants for value addition in the mineral sector; (2) Mandate the establishment of mineral smelting and refining facilities; (3) Mandate the establishment of iron making industry, and (4) Mandate the establishment of nickel refineries.

This move by the government is in support of the expansion and growth of the export of value added mineral products. In terms of percent, contribution to the metallic production value nickel ore
together with its nickel products, (mixed nickel-cobalt sulfide and scandium oxalate) outplayed the
other metals accounting for 45.55% or P51.32billion.

This time around overtaking the yellow metal which led inQ1 2022 by as much as PhP4.87 billion. Of the current, 55 operating metallic mines listed only 39 mines reported production, the remaining 16 or 29% reported zero production and/or under care & maintenance status. Having the upbeat metal price as a backdrop both the production volume and value of the yellow metal saw large increases of 19% and 34% from 12,431 kilograms with an estimated value of P34.74 billion to 14,813 kilograms with an estimated value of P46.44 billion, a considerable change of 2,382 kilograms and P11.70 billion.

The key producers were the Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corporation (PGPRC) in Masbate with 3,550 kilograms with an estimated value of P11.14 billion followed by OceanaGold (Phils) Inc. with 1,828 kilograms with an estimated value of P5.73 billion. Outlook on PH Mineral Industry The outlook for the minerals industry remains optimistic as the Finance Chief of the new Administration gave recognition to the potential role of the mining industry in the country’s economic

“The mining industry holds the greatest potential to be a key driver in our economic recovery and long-term growth…” It promotes local development and attracts foreign direct investment which will push the economy into a “higher growth trajectory”. Government remains steadfast in seeing to it that the industry strictly adheres to responsible and sustainable mining practices .He stressed it is all about striking a balance between protecting the environment, uplifting local communities, and supporting the government’s socio-economic agenda. These three conditions are non-negotiable he added.

Just hindsight of the Philippines’ total land area of 30 million hectares, as of June 2022 only about 2.54% or 763,378 hectares is covered by mining tenements. It should be further noted that said area is still subject to the mandatory relinquishment by Contractors as provided by law. Based on MGB data 9 million hectares are identified as having high mineral potential. To date, only about 8.48% of the 9 million hectares considered to be highly mineralized areas are covered by mining tenements. Not included in the estimation is the Local Government issued permits.

When it comes to minerals endowment the Philippines is among the fortunate countries abundantly endowed with nickel, gold, copper, and among other significant and important minerals. In the move to integrating and formalizing the small-scale mining sector, there are a total of 49 Declared Minahang Bayan (MB) geographically spread out all over the country 15 are found in Luzon, three in Visayas, and 29 in Mindanao. Breaking it down further the 49 MB 40 are for gold, seven for chromite, one for magnesite, and only one non-metallic mineral for silica quartz.

Primo Agatep/ ABN

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