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Cuba encourages foreign investment in mining, alternative energy

The Cuban government is encouraging foreign companies to invest in non-nickel mining and alternative energies on the island, official business weekly Opciones said, citing the Centro de Promoción del Comercio Exterior y la Inversión Extranjera de Cuba (CEPEC).

While nickel has evolved into the biggest export commodity over the past 15 years, Cuba is struggling to return most other mining activities to levels before the fall of the Soviet Union. According to Opciones, foreign investors are sought for high-risk contracts for surveying and geological research in gold and silver, as well as copper, lead and zinc.

In one of the few non-nickel mining projects, state company Geominera S.A. is in the process of reopening the El Cobre gold mine near Santiago de Cuba, after a 10-year hiatus. The Oro-Barita project at El Cobre is financed by Venezuela and the ALBA trade and integration agreement, and part of a larger effort to restart gold mining at five locations on the island.

Other opportunities include renewable-energy generation using wind power and biofuel from sugarcane bagasse, according to CEPEC.

Early this year, Havana Energy Ltd., a subsidiary of London-based Esencia Group, signed agreements to invest in biomass electricity projects on the island. Havana Energy agreed to form a joint venture with Zerus S.A., a state company controlled by the Sugar Ministry, to set up and operate a 30-mw power plant next to the Ciro Redondo sugar mill in central Ciego de Ávila province. This pilot project could be followed by four additional sugarcane bagasse-fueled power plants throughout the island.

According to CEPEC, tourism, oil, mining and energy are on top of the government’s priority list for foreign investment.

CEPEC encourages joint ventures and other forms such as joint production or service agreements and hotel management.

Source: http://www.cubastandard.com



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