CAGDIANAO Mining Corporation (CMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp (NAC), has boosted its nickel operations and by the second week of November expects to have completed 39 shipments to China this year. Each shipment contains around 55,000 wet metric tonnes of nickel ore.

There are three active mines within CMC’s concessions, Pits 1, 3 and 5, covering a total of 30.94 hectares and production supervisor Noah Balonzo said the nickel deposits of CMC were sufficient to sustain operations for the next 20 years.

Issued in November 1997, CMC’s mineral production sharing agreement covers almost 697.05 hectares. Of this area, environmental spokesman Jean Alac said 268.21 hectares were considered ‘disturbed area’. He said about 60% of the mined-out area covering 70 of the 150 hectares undergoing progressive rehabilitation had been planted with native and fruit-bearing trees. Around 12.2 hectares are undergoing rehabilitation.

Mine facilities include a stock yard, waste dump, settling ponds, mine haulage roads, and CMC structures or buildings, including guest houses and offices.

CMC is one of the three nickel-mining companies that continue to operate in Dinagat Islands, following former environment secretary Regina Lopez’s crackdown against irresponsible mining.

CMC mine planning engineer Mark Joseph Ostonal said the company anticipated higher income despite lower revenues, aided by cost-cutting measures at its operations amid volatile market prices for nickel.

NAC acquired CMC in 1999 and under the new management, it started commercial production in 2001.

NAC is the country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and one of the largest in the world. In June, NAC reported that it expects to end this year with higher income, continuing the positive trend it experienced in the first three months.

NAC president and chief executive officer Gerard Brimo said the company was hoping to sustain the profit turnaround it saw in the first quarter for the remainder of 2017. “We had a very good first quarter. Hopefully (we can sustain it for the rest of the year). I think we can. But then again, we have to see what happens to the prices in the market.”

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