Nickel Asia shuts, Philex Mining restarts some mining sites

29-Oct-2020 Intellasia | PhilStar | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Operations of two mining firms were disrupted by the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

On one hand, Nickel Asia Corp. disclosed to the stock exchange mining activities at Tagana-an mine in Surigao del Norte will be suspended indefinitely after the local government placed the site on lockdown “until further orders.”

The suspension of mining in the area came after 19 workers tested positive for COVID-19. As a precautionary measure, the company shut down the mining site from October 19 to 25, but municipal officials stepped in and ordered the area shut for the meantime.

Non-mining activities of Hinatuan Mining Corp., a Nickel Asia subsidiary operating the mine, would resume after a 2-week suspension from October 27 to November 10. Nickel Asia said a financial blowback from the decisions are not expected to be significant. Hinatuan Mining accounted for 19 percent of the parent’s total ore volume in 2019.

“HMC is already at the tail-end of its mining season and the last of its ore shipments have been loaded and the rest diverted to NAC’s other subsidiaries, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation and Cagdianao Mining Corporation,” the company said.

It was unclear how many Nickel Asia’s 6,971 employees as of last year are deployed to Tagana-an mines.

While Nickel Asia was halting some production, Philex Mining Corp. is restarting some. After a 2-day suspension until October 24 because of 26 COVID-19 cases, the Pangilinan-led firm said activities at the Padcal mine in Benguet province resumes Wednesday at 50 percent capacity.

While work was on hold, Philex conducted contact tracing and tested 1,425 employees and their families. Out of the total, 151 people tested positive for COVID-19, of whom eight people already recovered.

Since most cases were contained at Philex Mining’s underground mines, the company expects to nearly go back to normal operations at 90 percent capacity in 3 days. “(Barring) any resurgence of infection, Management believes that there is a minimal impact to the operations and financial results for 2020,” Philex Mining said.

Investors, however, were unconvinced of both Nickel Asia’s and Philex Mining’s positive prospects with the mine closures. As of 11:22 a.m., shares at Nickel Asia were down 1.59 percent to P3.83 apiece. Philex Mining dropped 1.44 percent to P5.47 each.


Category: Philippines

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