Philippines based miner, DMCI Mining’s nickel ore shipments escalated in H1 (Jan-June) by 25pc to 553,197wmt (wet metric tonne). DMCI’s nickel ore shipments in H1 2019 was around 681,360wmt but in the first half of 2020 rose on the back of resumption of its Zambales operations which accounted for almost 25pc of total shipments as it sold about 202,440wmt in H1. In 2019, Zambales made no shipments.
Berong Nickel, DMCI’s nickel asset is Palawan, shipped 650,757wmt of nickel ore down 4pc from the prior year. In Q2, Berong shipped 321,966wmt while 101,140wmt was shipped by Zambales.
Indonesia’s ban on nickel ore exports coupled with COVID-19 lockdowns easing across nations starting May led sustained production and shipments, said DMCI in a business update. The company also sold the previously ‘unsellable’ low-grade nickel to China in H1. Nine of a total 16 shipments to China were low-grade nickel. China’s demand for low-grade nickel was a result of Indonesia’s ban which pushed China to source low-grade nickel ore to support its raw material requirements.
Nickel ore is required to produce stainless steel goods. Demand for stainless steel products may be subdued amid the pandemic but demand for nickel batteries used in electric vehicles in on the rise and is projected to increase in the coming years. This is supporting nickel prices in the global market.