Geography of Cuba - Natural Resources

Natural Resources

Natural resources include cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, timber, silica, and petroleum. At one time, the whole island was covered with forests and there are still many cedar (Cedrela odorata), chechem (Metopium brownei), mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni), and other valuable trees. Large areas were cleared to grow more sugarcane, and so few trees remained that timber had to be imported.

The most important Cuban mineral economic resource is nickel. Cuba has the second largest nickel reserves in the world after Russia. Sherritt International, a Canadian energy company, operates a large nickel mining facility in Moa, Cuba. Another leading mineral resource is cobalt, a byproduct of nickel mining operations. Cuba ranks as the fifth largest producer of refined cobalt in the world.

Petroleum is extracted on Cuba's northern shore, in the provinces of La Habana and Matanzas. Recent petroleum exploration has revealed that the North Cuba Basin could produce approximately 4.6 billion barrels (730,000,000 m3) to 9.3 billion barrels (1.48×109 m3) of petroleum. As of 2006, Cuba has now started to test-drill these locations for possible exploitation. The petroleum is of low quality, and used for energy generation only.

Sugarcane was the most important part of the economy in Cuba's history, and is still grown on large areas. Extensive irrigation systems are developed in the south of Sancti Spíritus Province. Tobacco, used for some of the world's cigars, is grown especially in the Pinar del Río Province.

See also: Agriculture of Cuba

Read more about this topic:  Geography Of Cuba

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