The Cuban media has reported that the Castellanos Mining Project in the western province of Pinar del Río, will move forward with an investment of $278,000,000. It one of the largest investments at the present time in the country. Investment capital is sourced from not as yet identified European transnational and an Angolan entity.
Empresa Minera del Caribe (EMINCAR – its Spanish acronym) which carried out the feasibility study, will manage the operations and oversee capital expenditure for the project. EMINCAR, a Trafigura Pte Ltd mining company is a joint venture with the Government of Cuba. The mining group conducted the evaluation of the Castellanos and Santa Lucia lead-zinc deposits.
EMINCAR, which consults and administers mineral logistics was formed in 2012, as a joint venture with the Cuban state-owned company Geominera S.A.
The project also includes the upgrade and renovation of the port of Saint Lucia in western Cuba in order to ship to the Special Development Zone at the Port of Mariel (ZEDM) for exportation overseas. The first exports are scheduled to begin in October 2017, and full plant production in early 2018.
The project has a targeted completion date of July 2018. Feasibility studies by EMINCAR indicate the Castellanos mining project will produce about 220 tonnes of zinc and lead concentrates annually for export. It will be an important export for the Cuban economy. Directors from the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MINEM) estimate the mine will produce approximately one million tons with reserves for 11 years.
In the 1990s, gold was extracted from the Castellanos mines. The decline in metal commodities and increase in production costs in the 1990s left more that 2,000 out of work. As a result of the Castellanos mining project moving forward, approximately 1,000 jobs will be created directly and indirectly.