The jury is out: only eleven out of forty one mines passed the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) mining audit. Most of the mines on the list were nickel producers, accounting for 55.5 percent of annual output.
Of the forty one mines, twenty were recommended for suspension.
In a press briefing held on September 27, DENR Secretary Gina Lopez and Senior Undersecretary Leo Jasareno named the mining companies recommended for suspension.
One of the mines recommended for suspension was Benguet Corp., one of the Philippine’s oldest nickel mines. This was due to the failure to rehabilitate a 20-year old open pit in Benguet. Benguet Corp. said it was continuously exerting efforts to rehabilitate by initiating projects, including converting the pit into a bulk water project or a waste-to-energy facility.
The 20 mining companies recommended for suspension:
- Libjo Mining Corp.
- AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration & Development Corp.
- Kromico Inc.
- Carrascal Nickel Corp.
- Marcventures Mining & Development Corp.
- Filminera Resources Corp. & Philippine Gold Processing & Refining Corp.
- Strongbuilt Mining and Development Corp.
- Sinosteel Philippines H.Y. Mining Corp.
- Oriental Synergy Mining Corp.
- Wellex Mining Corp.
- Century Peak Corp.
- Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corp.
- CTP Construction & Mining Corp.
- Agata Mining Ventures Inc.
- Hinatuan Mining Corp.
- Benguet Corp.
- Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co.
- OceanaGold Phils. Inc.
- Adnama Mining Resources Inc.
- SR Metals Inc.
Upon receipt of a letter from the DENR, the mining companies are given seven days to explain why they should not be suspended.
Nickel prices could go up further
The Philippines is the world’s biggest producer of nickel, and supplies almost all of the material imported by China to make stainless steel. While global stocks are high, a suspension or closure of more mines could drive refined nickel prices up further, leading to investors diversifying their interests.
Nickel was on an upward trend on Tuesday, September 27, and ended the day at $4.84 per pound.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Pia Rivera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.