Philippine nickel production declined 14 percent in 2020 to 18.5 million dry metric tons from 21.6 million DMT in 2019 amid the pandemic.
Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, however, showed nickel export value rose to P25 billion in the first nine months of 2020 on higher prices in the world market.
Philippine Nickel Industry Association president Dante Bravo said the improved world price of nickel last year came from the consistent demand in China that kept the local sector’s performance steady with stable production throughout the year.
The decline in domestic nickel production was brought about by the enhanced community quarantine from March to May 2020 when the movement of mineral products were limited throughout the country.
The PNIA, composed of eight mining firms, accounted for 50 percent of the total nickel production in the Philippines last year.
Based on the recent MGB report, PNIA members produced 7.9 million DMT with an export value of P11.6 billion in 2020.
“The industry is grateful that we were able to perform well despite the pandemic and that we were able to contribute to the economy during these trying times. We’re all aware that a large number of businesses closed down in 2020 and some are closing down this year,” Bravo said.
“Most importantly, we’re glad that the nickel industry was able to operate and continue to help our local communities survive during the challenges of the pandemic last year,” he said.
PNIA is optimistic nickel demand from foreign markets would pick up this year on the recovery of the infrastructure sector and increased demand from the electric vehicle industry and manufacturing sector.
“We are hopeful that there will be a continuous demand for the year so that we can also keep our performance and help our local communities by providing them jobs that they can keep,” Bravo said.
“The mining industry has kept to employ 190,000 people in the entire country and this is very important especially that the Philippine government is trying to implement economic recovery efforts from the impact of the pandemic,” he said.