SANTIAGO (BNAmericas) -- Chinese and Cuban mining and finance officials signed a series of agreements in Havana on Monday to explore and develop two nickel projects on the Caribbean island, Diario Granma reported.
The agreements cover the construction of a ferro-nickel plant at Moa, the purchase of ferro-nickel product and an exploration joint venture for the San Felipe nickel property in eastern Cuba. Ferro-nickel is an iron-nickel combination mostly used in steelmaking.
According to Canadian paper Toronto Star, business sources in Havana said Cuba planned to produce a total 90,000t/y of ferro-nickel and estimated the investment needed at US$380mn-600mn.
Diario Granma reported that the Chinese government's exportation agency Sinosure, Chinese mining metals company Minmetals, the Chinese Development Bank, the National Bank of Cuba and Cuban nickel company Yamanig"uey signed an agreement to finance, insure and construct a ferro-nickel plant at the Moa mine in Cuba to produce 22,500t/y of contained nickel in a joint venture 51% Yamaig"uey, 49% Minmetals.
The value of the investments was not released.
Moa, in eastern Cuba's Holguin province already has two ferro-nickel plants, Che Guevara and Pedro Sotto Alba, which are operated in a 50:50 joint venture with state nickel company Cubaniquel and Canada's Sherritt International.
Holguin is one of the world's most important nickel zones, with some 800Mt of proven nickel cobalt ore and another 2.2Bt of probable reserves, BNamericas reported in 2003.
Separately, Minmetals agreed to buy 4,000t/y of sinter nickel from 2005-2009 from Cubaniquel.
The China International Trust & Investment Corporation (Citic) financial group signed a memorandum of understanding with Cuba's Empresa Mineral del Este - headed up by Cuban Ricardo Gonz'alez Sanchez, who also signed other agreements for Yamaig"uey and Cubaniquel - to form a mixed-capital company to explore the San Felipe nickel concessions in eastern Cuba. The company will be 51% Cuban-owned, 49% Chinese.