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Posted January 16, 2008 by publisher in Cuba-World Trade

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The Cuban nickel industry surpassed tourism as the country’s top foreign exchange earner for the first time in 2007, an economic commentator said on state-run television on Tuesday.

“Cuba’s production of between 75,000 and 76,000 tonnes meant revenues of around $2.7 billion, while tourism earned around $2.1 to $2.2 billion,” Ariel Terrero, considered the best informed economic commentator on state-run television, said.

Cuban officials have said nickel output was up 2.2 percent last year over a 2006 output of around 74,000 tonnes.

Terrero confirmed unrefined nickel plus cobalt production should reach a record 80,000 tonnes this year.

“There are plans to increase production at the Pedro Soto Alba plant, a joint venture with Canada, by 4,000 tonnes, an investment that began some time ago and which should come on line beginning this year,” he said.

Joint venture partner Sherritt International has announced plans to add 16,000 tonnes to the plant’s capacity, 4,000 tonnes in 2008, another 9,000 tonnes in 2009 and a final 3,000 tonnes in 2011.

Sherritt partner, state-run Cubaniquel, operates two older plants in eastern Holguin province where the joint venture is located, exporting the product mainly to Europe and China.

The three plants have operated at capacity for a number of years.

The Communist-run Caribbean island is one of the world’s largest nickel producers and supplies 10 percent of the world’s cobalt, according to the Basic Industry Ministry. 

Nickel is essential in the production of stainless steel and other corrosion-resistant alloys. Cobalt is critical in production of super alloys used for such products as aircraft engines.

Cuban nickel is considered to be Class II with an average 90 percent nickel content.

Cuba’s National Minerals Resource Center reported that eastern Holguin province where the industry is based counted 34 percent of the world’s known reserves, or some 800 million tonnes of proven nickel plus cobalt reserves, and another 2.2 billion tonnes of probable reserves, with lesser reserves in other parts of the country.

(Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by John Picinich)

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  1. Follow up post #1 added on January 25, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    I guess Cuba now sees the potential of mining other minerals

    Cuba to open gold and copper mines in 2009


    Feasibility studies are underway with a view to opening gold and zinc-copper mines in the Cuban province of Villa Clara in 2009.

    The study is part of a cooperation programme between Cuba and Venezuela. “Our aim is to extend existing reserves and to start mining underground deposits by next year,” said company director Argelio Abad on Wednesday.

    The studies, being carried out by the Central Geo Mining Company, have an increased importance because of the raise in the price of gold and the demand for copper and zinc in the international market.

    The Central Geo Mining Company had a commercial production of more than 14 million pesos in 2007. Technological renovations underway should raise the production of carbonate and other minerals.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on February 05, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    and this from Prensa Latina:

    Cuban Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia stated that nickel exports surpassed tourism earnings in 2007, “Trabajadores” weekly website reports Monday.

    With one of the largest nickel and cobalt reserves of the world, the island has reached such results due to stability and productive management in nickel entities of the northeastern Holguin provinces, Garcia said.

    During a meeting with workers and executives from that industry, the minister called to seek productive reserves, a greater efficiency in labors of nickel extraction and processing as a finished product.

    The mineral production, which has led Cuban exports for a first time, focuses on the “Rene Ramos Latour” factory in Nicaro, and “Pedro Sotto Alba” and “Ernesto Che Guevara” plants in Moa.

    For Garcia, the priority is to train a highly-qualified labor force, and at the same time protect environment with rehabilitation and reforestation of areas affected by mining labors.

    Cuba consulting services

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