Nickel Asia to resume ore shipment as local mining ban lifted

Aerial survey of Claver, Surigao Del Norte. Credit: Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Nickel Asia Corp, the Philippines’ largest nickel ore miner and exporter, said on Monday its two units in Surigao del Norte province will resume ore shipments as the local government has allowed mining operations to resume after a suspension to curb the potential spread of the coronavirus.

The company said in a filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange that foreign vessels chartered to deliver ores will strictly observe quarantine guidelines covering their crew and stevedores loading ores onto the vessels.

Mining operations in Surigao del Norte had been suspended from April 1 to prevent the coronavirus spreading. The southern province holds the Philippines’ biggest nickel mines, supplying ore to Chinese nickel pig iron producers and smelters elsewhere.

Foreign vessels chartered to deliver ores will strictly observe quarantine guidelines

Surigao del Norte’s decision also covers all other export-oriented companies in the province, according to Nickel Asia.

Dante Bravo, president of Global Ferronickel Holdings, which also produces and exports ore from Surigao del Norte, said the decision should help ease market worries oversupply.

“We expect that there will be less (supply) disruptions in the coming weeks and hopefully (the situation will) return to normal in June,” Bravo, who is also president of industry group Philippine Nickel Industry Association, told Reuters.

Shares of Nickel Asia climbed as much as 5.9% following its disclosure.

Shares in Global Ferronickel, the country’s No. 2 ore producer and exporter, jumped as much as 10.4%.

(By Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Kenneth Maxwell)

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