Nickel Asia to open additional 2 mines, eyes IPO for power unit

April 25, 2023 - 2:21 PM
A view of nickel ore stockpiles at DMCI Mining Corporation's mine in Sta Cruz Zambales in northern Philippines February 7, 2017. Picture taken February 7, 2017. (Reuters/Erik De Castro/File Photo)

 Nickel Asia Corp NIKL.PS, the Philippines’ biggest nickel ore producer, expects to bring two more mines into production in three years and will assess the feasibility of building another processing plant, its chief executive said on Monday.

In an interview with Reuters, president and CEO Martin Antonio Zamora said the miner, which partly owns the Philippines’ only two nickel ore processing plants, is also looking to ramp up investments in a renewable energy business, before undertaking an initial public offering for it hopefully in three years.

Nickel Asia, which is partly owned by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd 5713.T, is targeting annual nickel ore production of at least 4 million wet metric tonnes (WMT) from the Bulanjao mine, near its existing Rio Tuba mining site in the southwestern Palawan province, and at least 2 million WMT from Manicani mine in central Samar province.

It also aims to increase ore shipments from its Dinapigue mine in northeastern Isabela province and looking to develop the Kepha site, near its existing Taganito mine in southern Surigao del Norte province, which will have an initial annual production of 2 million WMT

The miner, which sold 15.93 million WMT of nickel ore last year from its four existing mines, down 11.2% compared with its 2021 sales volume due to unfavorable weather.

The Philippines, a major nickel ore supplier to top metals consumer China, wants to woo investment in domestic processing of the material used in making stainless steel and electric vehicle batteries, and to boost value of its exports.

—Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Martin Petty