SMM12, 21 March: the head of Cuba's state monopoly Cubaniquel quoted local media as saying that in 2018, Cuba's nickel and cobalt sulphide production will exceed 50, 000 tons, revenue will exceed 2017.
The government says Cuba produced 54500 tons of nickel and cobalt last year. However, according to industry insiders, the final production is about 50000 tons of nickel and cobalt, of which more than 4000 tons of cobalt.
Cuba has not released the latest production data.
"We should produce more than 50000 tons of nickel this year," Eder Manuel Olivero Garcel, director of Cubaniquel, told state-run television. Despite the recent decline in production, the average price in 2018 was $13300 per tonne, so it was a good price for us, "he said.
Cubaniquel is the only operator of the Che Guevara (Chegwara) processing plant in Moa, eastern Olgin, and has a joint venture with Canadian mining company Sherritt International Corp at the Pedro Soto Alba plant in the same region.
The Che Guevara plant plans to produce 19000 tons this year, compared with about 31000 tons for, Pedro Soto Alba, according to Sherritt.
Cuba produced an average of 74000 tons of nickel and cobalt in the first decade of this century, but the oldest of the three plants was closed in 2012 and the, Che Guevara plant was damaged by the hurricane.
Cuba's National Mineral Resources Center says the country has about 1/3 of the world's known nickel reserves.
Cuba exports mainly production from the Che Guevara plant to China, while production from the Pedro Soto Alba plant is mainly shipped to Canada.
According to SMM, official customs data show that from April to October 2018, China imported a total of about 5000 tons of nickel hydrometallurgy intermediates from Cuba, accounting for about 3.5 per cent of the total imports of wet smelting intermediates from April to October. SMM will also continue to pay attention to the impact of the increase in the production of Cuba's Cubaniquel on the import volume and supply of domestic nickel hydrometallurgy intermediates.