MANILA May 10 Nickel ore output in the
Philippines, the world's top supplier, fell 51 percent in the
first quarter due to rains and the suspension of mine
operations, government data showed on Wednesday.
Of the country's 28 nickel mines, 21 reported zero output
during the period, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau said.
Unprocessed nickel ore shipped in the January to March period
totalled 1.71 million dry metric tonnes (DMT) compared with 3.46
million DMT a year ago, the data showed. Most of the
Philippines' output is shipped to China where it is used to make
Most nickel mines are in the southern Philippines where
monsoon rains and rough seas occur between October and March,
making it difficult for miners to operate and load ships. Other
mines are also under maintenance and care, the bureau said.
At least eight nickel mines have been suspended since last
year for environmental breaches under a crackdown launched by
former Environment Secretary Regina Lopez. She was ousted last
week by a panel of lawmakers that confirm appointments.
President Rodrigo Duterte has named former military chief
Roy Cimatu as Lopez's replacement, a move welcomed by miners but
opposed by environmental groups who said Cimatu does not have a
track record in environmental conservation.
Cimatu told Reuters on Tuesday it was possible to strike a
balance between allowing mining and protecting natural
resources, and he wanted time to assess the mine closures
ordered by his predecessor.
In terms of other metals, the Philippines' gold output rose
5 percent to 6,167 kilograms, while copper concentrate
production fell 22 percent at 72,194 DMT, the bureau said.
(Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Christian Schmollinger)