Cuban relations with the U.S. and western nations is evolving towards a restoration of diplomatic relations and the initiation of a process of normalization of relations between the two countries.
With the easing of political tensions and the possible lifting of the trade embargo, potentially strong economic ties could re-emerge providing a significant impact to the regional economy including the U.S. Southeast and the Caribbean region as a whole.
The Cuban geology and structural setting is complex and hosts a variety of non-fuel mineral resources in several terranes. Cuba hosts one of the largest mafic and ultramafic belts in the Caribbean region that are thought to be partially preserved fragments of oceanic crust (ophiolites). Other metallic mineral resources include copper and zinc in massive sulfides, copper in porphyry deposits, manganese oxide in strata-bound deposits, and tungsten vein deposits. Industrial mineral resources include volcanogenic bentonite, bauxite, feldspar, and zeolite minerals, as well as gypsum, kaolin, lime, high-grade limestone, marble, and sand.
Much of the exploration and development of these deposits, with the possible exception of nickel and cobalt resources, have remained underdeveloped since the mid-60’s. For example, Cuban copper production in 1959 was approximately 4% of world copper production, but no production has been reported since 2011. Part of the drop in production and development of mineral resources on the island can be attributed to the collapse of the U.S.S.R and repeated significant storms responsible for loss of life, property, and environmental damage (i.e. 1993, 1998, and 2004) and drought (1999). In addition, limited larger scale studies show fairly extensive unexplored areas (or a lack of accessible data) compared to adjacent areas in the Caribbean region. Therefore, significant potential for trade and investment lies currently untapped in the Cuban mineral sector.
The U.S. government said it held an outreach session with its counterparts in Cuba to discuss ways to collaborate on clean and renewable energy.
Last week, the U.S. Departments of State and Energy co-chaired the first U.S.-Cuba Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Working Group in Washington, D.C. Participants discussed regional developments related to clean energy, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, and exchanged ideas and information on how the U.S. and Cuba can move forward on this shared interest.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Working Group participants also shared information about domestic and international energy policies and established a meeting framework for future collaboration. The working group was jointly proposed and agreed to at the U.S.-Cuba Economic Dialogue on September 12 in Washington, D.C.
“Participants discussed regional developments related to clean energy, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, and exchanged ideas and information on how the United States and Cuba can move forward on this shared interest,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.