Five mining projects valued at $185m are likely to begin operations in the Philippines during the first quarter of 2010 to capitalise on escalating global metals prices.

The four direct ore shipping projects and one cement project are expected to help raise mineral production for the year.

Century Peak Nickel is investing $10m for a project with one million metric tonnes annual capacity, while Oriental Synergy will invest $6m in the Surigao nickel project, which will have an annual production capacity of 1.8 million metric tonnes.

Marc Ventures Mining and Development has made a $4.5m investment in a project with an annual production of 1.2 million metric tonnes of nickel ore, while Mamamayan sa Dinagat Island has invested $4m for a project with an annual capacity of one million metric tonnes.

Eagle Cement has invested $160m for the cement project in Manila, which will annually produce 1.5 million metric tonnes of cement.

According to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Filipino mining sector investments could not achieve 50% of the $650m target set out for 2009 as tight credit compelled miners to downscale or cancel projects,

The Philippines contains nearly $1tn worth of unexploited copper, gold, silver and nickel resources.