Cuba - Mining

Nickel was Cuba's leading mineral commodity, second to sugar in export earnings. The 14.4% increase in mining and quarrying for 2000 contributed to a 5.6% increase in GDP. The country produced 68,305 tons in 2000, up from 51,220 in 1996, and the government planned a 5% increase in 2001. Nickel reserves were the world's fourth largest and the reserves base was the largest. Recent changes in investment and mining laws have increased foreign trade. Production has been boosted by a joint venture formed in 1994 between Sherritt International of Canada, and the Cuban government. Nickel deposits and plants were located in eastern Cuba at Nicaro, Moa, and Punta Gorda, all in Holguín Province. Production of cobalt, a byproduct of nickel operations, ranked Cuba sixth in the world, with 3,096 tons in 2000, about 7% of world production. In 2000, Cuba also produced ammonia, chromite (50,000 tons), gold, gypsum, salt from seawater (160,000 tons), and silica sand. Production of copper has declined substantially from pre-Revolutionary times.

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