DMCI Mining Corp shipped 853,197 wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore in the first half of the year, up 25 percent from 681,360 WMT last year.
The company said marked increase was due to the resumption of nickel production in Zambales through subsidiary Zambales Diversified Metals Corp., which accounted for 24 percent of the total shipment at 202,440 WMT. The company made no shipments for the same period in 2019.
The rest was shipped by Berong Nickel Corp. in Palawan at 650,757 WMT of nickel ore, down 4 percent from 681,360 WMT last year.
“The Indonesian ban on nickel ore exports and easing of COVID-19 containment measures in May allowed us to sustain our production and shipments,” said Cesar Simbulan, DMCI Mining president.
“We also benefited from shifting market demand. Nine of our 16 shipments to China were for low-grade nickel ore, which was previously unsellable,” Simbulan added.
He said demand for low-grade nickel was driven by China’s sustained steel production during the first half of the year. The pandemic also induced-trade restrictions pushed Chinese buyers to shift to low-grade nickel to support its raw material requirements.
Nickel is primarily used for stainless steel production but demand for the metal is projected to increase in the coming years on the back of higher battery production for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage.