MANILA – Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc. is spending $25 million to boost the capacity of its Ipilan mine in Palawan province, its president said Tuesday.
The country’s third largest producer of nickel ore said it was planning to boost capacity to 3 to 4 million metric tons from 1.5 million in within the next two to three years, Global Ferronickel President Dante Bravo said.
“We are hopeful that when it’s fully developed and it’s fully operational that we can hit 3 to 4 million tons a year,” Bravo told ANC’s “Market Edge with Cathy Yang.”
The company is considering branching out to processing but is held back by high power costs and the threat of double taxation on the producing and processing sides of the business, he said.
“If that is fixed, I think value-added processing is very much viable here in the Philippines,” he said.
“We have a comparative advantage because we have the source of the raw materials here,” he said.
Bravo said Global Ferronickel was among miners who passed the environment department’s industry-wide audit, which could result in the suspension of up to 20 mines, mostly nickel.
If all 20 mines are suspended, Bravo said the country’s nickel output could be cut by 55 percent. If some of the mines are allowed to resume operations, production could be cut by 30 to 40 percent, he said.
The Philippines is the world’s top producer of nickel ore and the government’s crackdown has pushed prices up.
Bravo said he expected nickel prices to continue rebounding after hitting a 10-year low in February.