Since we began operating in Cuba more than 20 years ago, we have always invested in the development of communities near our sites. In the mid-2000s, this effort, referred to as the Cuba Community Investment Program, took on a more formal structure and approach. Sherritt began working with local and provincial governments in Cuba to develop an annual community investment plan for purchasing equipment and goods to meet local development needs that aligns with national development priorities, today known in Spanish as the Lineamientos. The Cuban authorities would arrange for the installation or use of these items by local state-run agencies and organizations. This approach serves as a great example of effective community development planning, with highly capable local leaders setting clear development goals for their communities that a company like ours supports. Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Investment and Trade recently confirmed that Sherritt is the only foreign investor in Cuba that has such a program in place.
Over the years, we have made several millions of dollars’ worth of investments to support a range of community-development initiatives in Cuba, including a project to provide public lighting along the streets in communities near our OGP facilities. Those efforts improved visibility along many roads during the evening, contributing directly to public safety.
In 2016, we invested more than $500,000 in community projects across Cuba. Some of that amount went towards supporting Cuba’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Matthew, but most of the funds supported community development projects in Moa, the municipality adjacent to our nickel mining joint venture, and Cardenas and Santa Cruz del Norte, communities near our Oil & Gas and Power facilities. Investments included: the procurement of lighting and air conditioning units for public institutions, public buses, road-repair equipment and sporting equipment. Although many of these investments may seem small in scale, they do contribute to the quality of life of the Cuban people in communities around our operations.