The country witnessed a nearly 23% surge in the value of its metallic mineral production in the first quarter, following higher production levels of most metals and favorable gold prices.
According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), metal production in the first quarter of this year rose by 22.83% to reach P58.92 billion, compared to P47.97 billion during the same period last year.
Gold accounted for the largest share in the overall production value, contributing 47.08 %, which is equivalent to P27.74 billion.
Nickel ranked second at 40.48% or P23.85 billion, followed by copper at 11.06% or P6.52 billion.
Meanwhile, the MGB data revealed that the combined worth of silver, chromite, and iron ore represented approximately 1.38% or P0.81 billion of the overall production value.
Regarding prices, the cost of gold maintained its consistent upward trend, rising from P1,874.91 per troy ounce to P1,889.05 per troy ounce.
On the other hand, the prices of nickel, copper, and silver all experienced a decline during the quarter.
Nickel prices witnessed a decrease from $12.74 per pound to $11.78 per pound. Similarly, copper experienced a decline from $4.53 per pound to $4.05 per pound. Moreover, silver prices dropped from $23.95 per troy ounce to $22.94 per troy ounce.
According to MGB, although the prices of these metals declined compared to the previous year, they were still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
With regards to production, there was a significant increase in the volume of gold by 17 %, rising from 1,223 kilograms to 8,327 kilograms.
The MGB reported that the top gold producer during the quarter was the Philippines Gold Processing and Refining Corp. in Masbate with 1,442 kilograms of gold, valued at P4.8 billion. OceanaGold Phils Inc. (OGPI) followed closely behind with a production of 929 kilograms of gold, valued at P3.1 billion.
According to the bureau, the reentry of Greenstone Resources Corporation in the production sector this year has had a positive impact on overall production. The company had been in a state of care and maintenance since 2018 and contributed 79 kilograms of gold, valued at P0.26 billion.
The production of nickel ore also experienced an increase, rising from 3,792,676 dry metric tons to 3,997,829 dry metric tons.
According to the MGB, 13 out of the 33 nickel mines in operation were able to achieve production levels during the quarter.
Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. emerged as the leading producer with a production volume of 1,205,244 dry metric tons, while Eramen Mineral Inc. secured the second position with 587,565 dry metric tons.
The remaining 20 mines did not record any production primarily due to factors such as adverse weather conditions or being placed under care and maintenance.
In contrast, copper production decreased from 64,841 dry metric tons to 64,730 dry metric tons. The production results came from Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) in Cebu, OceanaGold Phils Inc. (OGPI) in Nueva Vizcaya, and Philex Mining Corp. (PMC) in Benguet, which contributed to this decline in output.
MGB reported that “in terms of distribution, CCC accounted for 55 percent or 35,648 dry metric tons, OGPI for 25 percent or 16,299 dry metric tons and PMC contributed 20 percent or 12,783 dry metric tons.”
White metals experienced a lackluster performance, with the volume decreasing from 12,657 kilograms to 11,327 kilograms.
According to government data, TVI Resource Development (Phils) Inc.’s Balabag Gold-Silver Project in Zamboanga del Sur, continued to surpass other projects in performance, accounting for nearly 37 percent of the country’s total silver production, representing 4,221 kilograms valued at P0.16 billion.