Ottawa, Canada.- The Canadian company Sherritt International Corp. will invest in Cuba to increase the production of nickel and cobalt, essential minerals in the production of more powerful and long-lasting batteries, it was reported today.

Bloomberg, an agency specialized in economic issues, highlighted the increase in the electric car market, which requires better batteries compared to the existing ones, and both minerals are among their components, hence the new investments.

At present, the mining complex in Moa, Holguín, in northeastern Cuba, produces around 35,000 tons of nickel plus cobalt per year but investors expect to increase the figure by 20 percent to meet market demand.

Bloomberg specified that the new head of the corporation, León Binedell, who visited Cuba at the end of October, has plans to exceed current productions. “Seeking essentially the lowest-capital investment, lowest-risk opportunity for Sherritt is a significant way to increase cash flows and pursue growth,” he said.

The Canadian firm is currently in the process of refurbishing and expanding its assets to meet the challenge of lower fossil fuel use.

“The intention is to take full advantage of production and expansion before the deadline of our debt ” the executive told Bloomberg. While demand prospects for metals are good, there are challenges in processing complex minerals found in Cuba, where foreign companies also have to avoid the U.S. trade embargo, the agency said citing business sources.

The impacts of Covid-19 along with Washington’s sanctions created a lot of pressure on the government, Binedell remarked, adding that Sherritt and the Cuban leadership found “great alignment” on Moa’s expansion plan.

Binedell, a South African-born executive who took the top job at Sherritt after serving as chief financial officer at miner Guyana Goldfields Inc, was able to see Moa’s operation firsthand during his visit to the island.