DMCI Mining Corp., the mining unit of the Consunji Group, is confident it will obtain the go-signal from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to resume mining operations in Zambales province before the end of the year.
DMCI Mining president Cesar Simbulan Jr. said the company’s other nickel asset, Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., had already complied with the conditions set by the DENR for the lifting of the November 2018 suspension order.
“The Mines and Geosciences Bureau [MGB] reviewed the remedial actions taken by ZDMC last April 2019, and confirmed that all the specified conditions of DENR have been met,” said Simbulan.
“MGB has also recommended the lifting of the suspension. Hopefully, the DENR central office will reach a decision before the end of this year,” he added.
In December 2018, DMCI Mining’s other mining asset under Berong Nickel Corp., which operates in Palawan, was the only company audited by DENR that passed the nearly two-year review.
Out of the 13 companies audited, three were ordered closed while nine remained suspended, including ZMDC, pending the implementation of certain DENR conditions.
DMCI Mining, meanwhile, shipped 343,000 wet metric tons of nickel ore in the second quarter of the year, raising its total shipment in the first semester to 681,000 WMT, up 41 percent from 483,000 WMT year-on-year. All shipments came from the Palawan mine.
DMCI Mining on a standalone basis recorded flat revenues of P985 million in the first half of 2019, as its shipment of mostly lower grade nickel fetched a lower average selling price.
The average nickel grade during the period dropped 8 percent from 1.73 percent to 1.60 percent. Consequently, average selling price fell 28 percent from $39 to $28.
DMCI Mining as a result posted a net income of P254 million in the first six months of 2019, down 19 percent from P316 million year-on-year.
Simbulan earlier said the weak market prices, peso appreciation against the US dollar and the dwindling nickel reserves in Berong’s active mine sites were among the factors that would affect the company’s operations in 2019.