SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/04 December) — Prices of nickel export products have continued to plummet in the world market affecting profits of large-scale mining companies, Lilibeth M. Mangsal, district collector of the Bureau of Customs in Surigao City said.
A document obtained by MindaNews showed that from January to October last year, mine export products being shipped out reached 15.9 million metric tons with a total value of US$775.8 million.
For this year, the same volume of mine exports was valued at US$596.4 million.
Mangsal said the mine exports had come from the operations of different mining companies in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat Islands.
She said November and December were not included as extraction activities would stop during these months due to rains.
The exports were mostly limonite and saprolite, high and low grade nickel ores that were shipped to Japan and China.
Frizzy Lei G. Nacation, acting export document processor at the Bureau of Customs said a few of these exports were cobalt sulfide and nickel sulfide which are produced by Taganito High Pressure Acid Leach of Nickel Asia Corp. in Claver, Surigao del Norte.
Dulmar M. Raagas, president of Chamber of Mines Caraga Region Inc., said the prices of nickel ores continued to dip affecting the profitability target of the mining companies.
Raagas said there are 13 mining companies in Dinagat Province and five others in Surigao del Norte.
He said the decrease in export earnings affected taxes and royalty shares to some indigenous peoples’ communities.
Currently, he said, the price of nickel in the market has gone down to US$8,145 per ton, the lowest price in the last four years.
In 2011, Raagas said the price of nickel in the market was pegged at between US$21,845 and US$18,266 per ton.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Caraga Region said 18 mining companies in the region exported 33.7 metric tons of nickel ore in 2013 with an estimated value of US$659.1 million.
The government earned P554.9 million in excise tax, P1.2 billion pesos in royalty tax and P183.1 million in royalty tax to the indigenous peoples. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)