A total of 12 new metallic mines, mostly nickel projects, are seen to begin commercial operations this year, indicating a “bright outlook” for a sector experiencing cash windfall, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said.
In a report by Reuters, MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano said that the medium-term outlook for the mining industry is promising “unless the war in Ukraine would spill over to Asia,” which may cause disruptions in trade.
Moncano is hopeful that the next administration will support the policies imposed by outgoing Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, including the lifting of the four-year ban on open-pit mining for copper, gold, silver, and complex ores.
The entry of new mine producers would help increase the country’s ore output, even while existing local miners are operating at “an optimum capacity,” said Global Ferronickel Holdings President Dante Bravo.
However, he stressed that the mining industry remains burdened by rising fuel prices, higher inflation, manpower shortage, supply chain disruption, and a possible increase in freight charges, despite the high prices for metals.
MGB data shows that the country was able to produce 386,359 tonnes of nickel in 2021, the highest production in six years.