nickel mines, gas help, cubic meters, embargo, chromium
Cuba’s most abundant and profitable mineral export is nickel. Located in the eastern province of Holguin, Cuba’s nickel reserves are thought to be the fourth largest in the world. Prior to 1959, U.S. investors owned almost all the nickel mines. For this reason, the U.S. embargo specifically prohibited businesses that trade in Cuban nickel from trading with the United States. Even so, Canada defied U.S. orders to stop nickel investments and entered into joint ventures with Cuba. As a result of these joint ventures, the production of nickel more than doubled between 1994 and 1996. Cuba is also one of the world’s largest producers of cobalt. Other important minerals are copper, chromium, salt, stone, and natural gas.
Cuba’s oil deposits are scarce and yield high sulfur residues that corrode rigs and refineries. Few foreign investors have been willing to produce crude oil in Cuba. Nevertheless, production increased to 15 million barrels of oil and 566 million cubic meters (20 billion cubic feet) of natural gas by 1999. The oil and gas help meet energy demand in Cuba’s thermal power plants as well as the energy needed to produce cement and asphalt.
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