The Philippines has expressed uncertainty over its nickel output for 2021 even though the country posted a 3pc growth in 2020 despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Mines and Geoscience Bureau, the 2021 outlook remains uncertain as the pandemic is not showing signs of regressing. However, rising nickel prices globally and a rollout of vaccines may encourage more production and new projects.
The Philippines Nickel Industry Association has said that the nickel industry is optimistic of 2021’s prospects due to rising demand from foreign markets driven by infrastructure, electric vehicle (EV) and home appliance equipment manufacturing.
The Philippines is the world’s largest exporter of nickel to China, with a 333,962mt output in 2020, compared to 323,325mt in 2019. The pandemic forced the country’s mining companies to reduce working hours and workforce and only 18 of the 30 nickel mines were reported operational.
Since Indonesia banned ore exports last year, China is dependent on nickel supplies from the Philippines. The country uses the material to produce nickel Pig iron, a primary ingredient in stainless steel.