PH 9-month metal output declines

By: Riza T. Olchondra, December 28th, 2012 07:57 PM

Philippine metallic output in the first nine months of the year dropped by nearly a fifth as black market trading in gold and the suspension of some mining operations hampered production, according to a Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) report.

In terms of value, metallic mineral output dropped 18.85 percent to P79.52 billion in the Jan.-Sept. period from P97.99 billion in the same period in 2011.

Nickel outperformed other metals, including gold, for the second straight quarter this year, MGB said.

Nickel accounted for 47 percent of total production value in the first nine months. Gold accounted for 34 percent, copper 16 percent, while the rest were divided among silver, zinc, chromite and iron.

Gold purchases from small-scale miners and traders of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas continued to decline to just 945 kilograms valued at P2 billion from 16,724 kilograms valued at P32.71 billion.

“Both volume and value nosedived by 94 percent,” the MGB report said.

The suspension of several mining operations also brought down production.

Metal prices in the international market were “languid” during the period, MGB said. Silver, copper and nickel showed negative nine-month annual averages of 13.6 percent, 14.11 percent, and 27.02 percent, respectively.

“The slowdown in the global economy led prices to close at lower levels compared to the previous years,” the MGB report said.

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