Philippines to contribute more to global nickel production

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expected to be among the countries that will push global nickel production this year as the mineral sector recovers from the pandemic.

In its latest report, GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company in the UK, said global nickel production is seen growing 6.8 percent to reach 2.42 million metric tons (MT) in 2021.

Last year, global output declined 4.2 percent amid lockdowns and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

GlobalData noted that output from Indonesia, Philippines and Brazil would drive overall growth and offset declines in Russia and South Africa.

“Combined production from Indonesia, the Philippines and Brazil is expected to increase from a collective 1.160 million MT in 2020 to 1.316 million MT in 2021 or an increase of 13.5 percent,” GlobalData said.

“The increase in production will be supported by the expansion of Indonesia’s nickel industry, the resumption of production at various mines in the Philippines, and the ramp-up at the Santa Rita mine in Brazil, which was previously halted in 2015,” it said.

In April this year, the Duterte administration departed from its anti-mining stance after it lifted the nine-year-old moratorium on new mining agreements, a major roadblock for the industry.

Lifting the ban would open the mineral-rich country to more potential investors and hopefully boost the sector’s measly contribution to the economy.

Overall, Indonesia and the Philippines remain as the largest sources of nickel globally.

Together with Russia, New Caledonia, and Australia, these five countries account for almost three-quarters of global nickel production.

Philippine nickel industry players expected a strong bounce back in 2021 after a challenging 2020 that pulled down production volume amid the pandemic.

The Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) earlier said nickel consumption is seen to increase with the growing demand from foreign markets.

This is driven by the infrastructure sector and improved demand from the electric vehicle industry, as well as the home appliance equipment manufacturing sector.

The economic recovery of China and Japan is also beneficial for the Philippine nickel industry. Approximately 90 percent of Philippine nickel export goes to China while the remaining 10 percent goes to Japan.

Over the next few years, GlobalData forecasts that nickel production will grow three percent annually to reach 2,730.6 KT in 2025 to be driven by Indonesia, Russia, Canada and the Philippines.

Source: https://www.philstar.com/business/2021/09/20/2128239/philippines-contribute-more-global-nickel-production