Nickel Asia ships P12-B worth of nickel ore

MANILA — Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) has estimated its value of shipments for January to September this year rose 16 percent to PHP11.65 billion from PHP10.01 billion in the same period in 2016.

In a disclosure with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Tuesday, the listed mining company said higher prices of nickel ore and the weaker Philippine peso have driven the growth in its shipment value for the first nine months of the year.
Exchange rate of Philippine peso to a United States dollar for ore sales was at PHP50.29 this year from PHP46.88 in the previous year.

“Improved prices were more than enough to offset slightly lower shipments experienced during the first nine-months of the year,” NAC President and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Brimo said.

The firm said that nickel ore exports to Japan and China in January to September of this year were at 7.97 million wet metric tons (WMT), which was lower than the 9.74 WMT it shipped to the two Asian markets in the same period in 2016.

But higher prices of nickel ore pushed its value of shipment to increase, as NAC sold nickel ore to these markets at an average of USD24.35 per WMT for the first three quarters of 2017 from USD19.37 per WMT in the same period last year.

“We see strong support for prices at current levels, as global demand for commodities, including nickel, continue to improve,” Brimo added.

For January to September of this year, NAC’s four operating mines sold a total of 14.24 million WMT of nickel ore, down by 6.0 percent from 15.18 million WMT these mines sold in 2016.

Taganito mine shared 44 percent of NAC’s total shipment in January to September 2017, while Rio Tuba mine accounted for 31 percent of the its total shipment.

On the other hand, nickel ore shipments from Hinatuan and Cagdianao mines were both lower in the first nine months of the year due to late shipments brought by prolonged heavy rains.

NAC is the country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and also one of the largest in the world.