Cuba closes oldest nickel processing plant

Fri Dec 28, 2012 10:17am EST
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* Nicaro-based processor oldest of three in operation

* Little impact seen on overall Cuban output

* New plant to take workers

By Marc Frank

HAVANA, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Cuba has closed the oldest of three nickel plants in the country, a local Communist Party leader said, a looming event that had become the talk of the mountain town of Nicaro, in eastern Holguin, where it is located.

Nickel is Cuba's most important export and one of its top foreign exchange earners after technical services and tourism.

"This plant's productive role is completed and now it will dedicate its efforts to services," Jorge Cuevas Ramos, First Secretary of the Holguin Communist Party, said in an interview with the provincial television station on Thursday evening.

A local radio report earlier in the week had also indicated the plant was closed.

"After the closing of the René Ramos Latourt plant, its director said only the mineral transportation system would be maintained so it is ready to be transferred to Moa or for a foreign company that might be interested in investing in the area," the report said.   Continued...