13:58:00 EDT Apr 19, 2006
HAVANA (AP) - Cuba, among the world's largest nickel and cobalt producers, has launched a program with Canadian mining firm Sherritt International Corp. (TSX:S) to increase output by about half to 49,000 tonnes annually, state media said Wednesday.
The government's Cubaniquel and Sherritt are now in the "construction phase" of their expanded production program at the Moa mining facility in the eastern province of Holguin, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported.
The daily quoted Cuban Basic Industries Minister Yadira Garcia as saying that the expanded production program was "the toughest goal the Canadians and the Cubans have faced" in the mining program.
According to Cuban figures released when the plan was announced a year ago, the expansion will increase nickel and cobalt production at the plant by around 50 per cent, from about 35,000 tonnes in 2004.
Nickel is needed to produce stainless steel and cobalt is used for creating alloys necessary for jet engines and in high technology components.
The $450-million-US expansion project was announced in Havana in March 2005 by Cuban President Fidel Castro and Sherritt International President Ian Delaney.