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Chinese team tagging copper, nickel-rich areas

A team of Chinese geochemical surveyors will start mapping out copper and nickel-rich zones which is expected to further stir interest in Philippine mining.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Edwin Domingo said the results of the study can be used as data for exploration activities of mining companies.

“We’ve entered into an agreement with our Chinese counterparts for the conduct of a more scientific exploration."

The team, comprising of 12 Chinese nationals, will be working closely with Filipino geologists for three years in conducting scientific mapping and sampling.

The work entails improving research levels of geology and mineral resources by creating appropriate maps and evaluating nickel and copper resources.

The team will focus on Visayas and Northern Mindanao, and will kickstart activity in Surigao and Agusan Provinces.

The project has identified an initial 8 eight areas that are representative of copper and nickel mineralization zones.

“Once we have identified areas with vast potential of mineral resource, it will be easy now to spur investments in the minerals industry," said Domingo.

In 2009, the MGB and the China Geological Survey Group jointly carried out field investigation in central and southern Philippines.

Favorable world prices of nickel and copper, backed by huge demand and declining global stockpile, is encouraging investors to develop and mine copper and nickel-rich areas, including the Philippines.

In the first quarter, local copper production went up 45% from a year ago to 58,078 dry metric tons (DMT), and was valued at P3.95 billion.

Nickel concentrate output rose by a hefty 72% to 9,742 MT worth P2.13 billion. On the other hand, exports of nickel ore went up by 42% to 1.2 million DMT from 844,456 DMT with values reaching P1.08 billion.

The recovering global economy has also helped base metal prices to rebound, with nickel averaging $9 per pound this year, compared to $1.70 a pound in 2009. (abs-cbnnews.com)

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