Cuba’s dormant mining sector gets boost from public-private partnership

A team of workers from the Empresa Minera del Caribe were on track to start production at The Minas de Matahambre in October.

Daniel Vanin, the project director of the joint venture, said they are preparing for about a decade of excavations at the open pit mine operation in Pinar del Rio -- west of the protected Parque de Viñales.  

Vanin said that some of the additional steps to reduce the risk of pollution during the extraction include watering the roads and detailing areas with a plastic liners. 

"It's also not something that everyone does," Vanin said.

The small $278 million mine awakened the former mining town of Minas de Matahambre. Cuban officials trying to revive the mining sector released an investment portfolio that lists many more opportunities for foreign investors like this one. 

EMINCAR, a partnership between Geominera de Cuba and Swiss-based commodities group Trafigura, was formed in 2012. When the mine is fully operational, they expect it to produce 100,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate and 50,000 tonnes of lead concentrate a year. 

EMINCAR is also working at The Castellanos gold mine, also in Pinar del Rio. They believe it holds reserves for at least a decade of exploration. About 500 employees will be working at the Castellanos mine and some 1,200 at Matahambre. 

Cubans will earn an average monthly wage of $50 and earn an $80 bonus for good performance. The pay is well above the average state wage of $30. 

Local 10 News' Andrea Torres contributed to this story from Miami. 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.