Global Ferronickel Inc. said Wednesday it will start the construction of a $50-million steel manufacturing facility in Bataan province by the first quarter of 2021.
GFNI president Dante Bravo said in a news briefing conducted Wednesday by Philippine Nickel Industry Association the company would still push through with the construction by early next year despite delays because of the lockdown,
The plant, once completed by end-2021, will have an annual output of 600,000 metric tons.
“We hope to complete the construction at the end of 2021 and hopefully it will start contributing to the company’s earnings in 2022,” Bravo said.
The company said funding for the project would come from internally-generated funds.
GNFI announced plans last year to diversify into steel manufacturing to take advantage of the infrastructure development under the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration.
The mining firm teamed up with Hong Kong-based Huarong Asia Limited for the project.
Meanwhile, the PNIA expects total output from domestic nickel producers to reach 40 to 45 million metric tons this year.
Marcventures Holdings Inc. president Isidro Alcantara Jr. said that despite the pandemic, nickel producers were ramping up production to take advantage of high nickel prices.
Alcantara said nickel prices started to go up following the strong economic recovery posted by China and continued Indonesian ban on exports of nickel ore.
“In 2019, the industry exported 40 to 45 million tons. Maybe, the expectation is lower this year but considering the nickel prices which are to the roof, many mining companies will be working double time with their production,” Alcantara said.
Alcantara said the uptrend in nickel prices was expected to continue next year.
The PNIA, through eight-member companies, boosted their environmental protection and enhancement program and reported planting 6.3 million trees over 3,167 hectares in their respective mining areas.
PNIA member companies planted an additional 809,656 more trees in the first two quarters despite the pandemic. These trees covered 322 hectares of land or equivalent of 600 football fields, which brought their total number of planted trees to over 6 million.
Aside from GFNI, other members of PNIA are Agata Mining Ventures Inc., Berong Nickel Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., Citinickel Mines and Development Corp., CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Marcventures Holdings Inc. and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp.