Monday, January 29, 2007

Venezuela trumps China in Cuba feronickel deal

Tuesday January 30, 2:30 AM
Venezuela trumps China in Cuba feronickel deal

HAVANA, Jan 29 (Reuters) - A senior Cuban official said Monday Venezuela
had replaced China in local plans to produce fero-nickel at a partially
completed plant in eastern Holguin province.

"The Chinese are not continuing, we are redoing the project with
Venezuela," Cuban Minister of Foreign Investment and Economic
Cooperation, Marta Lomas, told Reuters, when asked about the Camarioca
nickel works.

"We are forming a joint venture with Venezuela for Camarioca," Lomas said.

China's state-owned Minmetals Corp. signed an agreement in 2004 to
invest in Camarioca, but nothing has happened since then, according to
western businessmen who supply the industry.

Venezuela's taking over of the project should allow Cuba to start up the
unfinished Las Camarioca plant, which has been mothballed since the
demise of the Soviet Union 15 years ago.

The two countries announced last week plans to produce stainless steal
in Venezuela using Cuban fero-nickel.

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