Public Funds and businesses with foreign companies characterize the development of mining activities in Cuba for prospecting led, zinc, gold, calcium carbonate and other important minerals for export and local consumption.

Public Funds and businesses with foreign companies characterize the development of mining activities in Cuba for prospecting led, zinc, gold, calcium carbonate and other important minerals for export and local consumption.Cuba’s GEOMINSALl Business Group is the entity that brings together all the Cuban institutions operating in this sector, also including resources such as zeolite, salt, silica, bentonite and phosphorite.

Investments averaging $113 million have been predicted for 2016, Juan Ruiz Quintana, Mining General Manager of the Energy and Mine Ministry (MINEM) told The Havana Reporter.

The largest investments will be operated by Empresa Minera del Caribe (Caribbean Mining Enterprise, EMINCAR), for more than $91 million.

EMINCAR is already carrying out engineering and infrastructure projects with views to beginning prospecting works in the eastern area of Santa Lucía (Pinar del Río province), where led and zinc concentrates will be produced.

This company resulted from the merging in 2012 of a European multinational corporation, Cuba’s Geominera S.A. (entity that belongs to GEOMINSAL), and a joint venture with Angolan capital.

Geominera S.A. holds more than half of the shares and within eleven years it is expected to have produced nearly one million tons of led and zinc concentrates, largely for export.

The steps for basic engineering works have been made already, including the construction of roads, warehouses and related facilities for the future plant, said Quintana.

Totalling $300 million, the investment process will also help reanimate Santa Lucía, a town with a mining tradition. A major copper field was operated for years at the Matahambre Mines, near the town, Ruiz Quintana recalled.

Though EMINCAR was granted concession to operate for eleven years, the mineral reserves are estimated to account for a larger period, according to different geological researches, the specialist noted.

Among the GEOMINSAL investments for 2016 features the renovation of two large salt fields in the eastern provinces of Guantánamo and Las Tunas, which produce over 70 percent of the country’s salt, he explained.

Las Tunas produces the salt used to make chloride, which is essential forwater treatment in sectors such as public health. The national salt production in 2015, including salt for animal use, rose to 130,000 tons.

Zeolite production is significant as well, with 50,000 tons being produced annually. Yet, the mineral has little use in the country, he regretted.

Also this year, a calcium carbonate producing plant will be modernized in the western province of Mayabeque with views to meeting the national demand for the micronized product (powder), which is fundamental for the production of detergents, toothpaste, paintings and poultry feed.

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