DMCI Mining Corp. on Monday said it is on track to surpass its 2022 nickel ore production and shipments, eyeing to open two new mines as part of the company’s expansion plans.
In a statement, DMCI Mining said production already doubled to 1.12 million wet metric tons (WMT) in the first half of 2023 from 567,000 WMT during the same period last year.
The production also surpassed the recorded 2022 full-year output of 1.03 million WMT.
Total shipments in the first half of the year, meanwhile, reached 1.06 million WMT, which accounted for about 73 percent of the 1.45 million WMT total sales volume in 2022.
“We attribute our strong performance to improved operational efficiency and permit timing,” DMCI Mining president Tulsi Das Reyes said.
“Shortly after Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) was granted an ECC (environmental compliance certificate) amendment, we worked on securing the auxiliary permits, local manpower and heavy equipment needed to boost our production capacity,” he said.
Earlier this year, ZDMC was granted an amended ECC which allowed the company to raise its annual production to a maximum of 2.7 million dry metric tons.
“To sustain our growth momentum and offset the impact of our Berong mine depletion, we are looking to open new mines in Zambales,” Reyes said.
Reyes said one mine will be operational by December this year and another is set to open by the second quarter of 2024.
In an interview in Baguio over the weekend, Reyes said they will spend roughly PHP250 million to develop the nickel mine which will be located inside its existing mine site in Zambales currently being operated by ZDMC.
The new mine, which is expected to produce 20 million metric tons, will be operated by its another unit, Zambales Chromite Mining Co. (ZCMC).
“[It’s] Zambales Chromite, but it’s not a chromite mine, it’s a nickel mine. When we bought it from the UK (United Kingdom), that’s already the name and we haven’t really rebranded or reshaped the company yet because those are the companies we used to apply for the permit,” Reyes said.
He said they are currently securing permits for the new mine.
“I strongly believe that we have a very good chance to get this permit before year-end, but please note we have to get a tree cutting permit afterwards. Once we get the tree cutting permit, we can now mine,” he said.
“So we will possibly… I’m confident we’ll get the permit, shovels in the ground, depending on the timeline of our suppliers, the way the regulators approve our permit. But I’m very confident it’ll happen within the proper time frame plus minus one month,” he added.
While Reyes did not disclose the location of the second mine, he said it can produce about 70 million tons of high-grade ore.
Source: Philippine News Agency