Cuba says Sherritt nickel venture at record output
Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:41am EST
*Sherritt venture at 106 tonnes mixed sulfides per day
*Cuban plant below capacity at 76 tonnes daily
*Output at third plant unknown
HAVANA, March 10 (Reuters) – Canadian mining company Sherritt
International's (S.TO) joint nickel venture in Cuba broke production
records in February, while a second plant's output was 2 percent above
plan, official media reported Wednesday.
"The Pedro Soto Alba plant produced 106 tonnes of mineral daily while
the Ernesto Che Guevara plant reached 76 tonnes daily," Holguin
province's television Cristal reported.
The two plants are located in Moa, Holguin province, the home of the
Pedro Soto Alba is a joint venture between state monopoly Cubaniquel and
The Che Guevara plant is owned by Cubaniquel, as is a third plant in
neighboring Nicaro, the Rene Ramos Latourt plant.
At current production rates, the Pedro Soto Alba appeared on track
toward output of around 38,000 tonnes of unrefined nickel plus cobalt,
while the Che Guevara would weigh in at around 28,000 tonnes, well below
its 32,000 tonne capacity.
There was no information on the Rene Ramos Latourt, the oldest plant
with a capacity of 10,000 to 15,000 tonnes, which operated below
capacity at various times last year.
Cuba's unrefined nickel plus cobalt production weighed in at 70,100
tonnes last year, according to the government.
Production at the Pedro Soto Alba plant was a record 37,328 tonnes,
Sherritt International reported.
Hurricane Ike, a Category 3 storm, hit Cuba in September 2008 at
Holguin's northern coast, where the nickel industry's three processing
plants are located, damaging the two Cubaniquel plants, infrastructure,
housing and buildings and swamping the area with torrential rains and a
Output had averaged between 74,000 and 75,000 tonnes of unrefined nickel
plus cobalt for much of the decade before that storm hit.
Nickel is essential in the production of stainless steel and other
corrosion-resistant alloys. Cobalt is critical in production of super
alloys used for such products as aircraft engines.
Cuban nickel is considered to be Class II, with an average 90 percent
Cuba's National Minerals Resource Center reported that eastern Holguin
province accounted for more than 30 percent of the world's known nickel
reserves, with lesser reserves in other parts of the country. (Reporting
by Marc Frank; Editing by John Picinich)
Cuba says Sherritt nickel venture at record output | Reuters (10 March 2010)