MANILA, April 11 The two biggest nickel miners
in the Philippines, Nickel Asia Corp and Global
Ferronickel Holdings Inc, on Tuesday said prices for
the metal would be robust this year due to growing demand from
The Philippines is the world's top supplier of nickel ore,
used to help make stainless steel, with China its No.1 market.
"The company's prospects remain optimistic driven by strong
stainless steel demand in China," Global Ferronickel President
Dante Bravo said in a statement released with the company's
export outlook for this year.
Benchmark nickel prices stood around $10,155 a tonne
on Tuesday, but forecasts from the likes of the World Bank show
they could average around $11,000 in 2017. That would compare to
around $9,500 last year.
The nation's largest ore producer, Nickel Asia, said in its
own statement that prices had held up "very well" in the first
quarter and would likely remain firm due to low inventory levels
Parts of the Philippines' metals sector have been roiled as
its resources minister, a committed environmentalist, this year
ordered the closure of more than half the nation's mines to
One of Nickel Asia's four mines is among the 22 ordered
closed and the company has said it would pursue all legal
remedies to overturn the order. Global Ferronickel is not among
companies facing mine closures or suspensions.
Nickel Asia reported a 47 percent increase in the value of
its shipments in the first quarter to 2.19 billion pesos ($44
million) from a year ago, despite lower sales volumes.
Global Ferronickel said it was confident of hitting its ore
shipment target of 6 million wet tonnes this year as favourable
weather had been helping mining operations.
(Reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Joseph Radford)