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 (CIP), 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 that meets local development needs and aligns with national development priorities. The Cuban authorities 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. To the best of our knowledge, Sherritt is the only foreign investor in Cuba that has such a program in place.
Since 2006, when the CIP was created, we have invested more than $6 million in support of a range of community development initiatives in Cuba, including projects to provide public lighting, transportation, education, maintenance and repair of public infrastructure, improvement of public health infrastructure and sewage systems. All of these donations were in-kind; there were no direct monetary donations made to governments or communities.
In 2020, we invested more than $470,000 in community projects across Cuba. The funds supported community development projects in Moa, the municipality adjacent to our nickel mining joint venture, and Matanzas and Santa Cruz del Norte, communities near our OGP facilities. Investments included procurement of LED lamps and air conditioning units for public health and educational institutions, and spare parts and maintenance for equipment donated in previous years. These investments contribute to the quality of life of the people in communities around our operations.
Some of the investments made by OGP, in support of initiatives in Matanzas and Santa Cruz del Norte, provided equipment for improving and increasing potable water supply, equipment for improving garbage collection services, as well as equipment to increase refrigeration capacity at educational and public health centres. These projects support government efforts to supply potable water to communities and to also contribute to the quality of life of the people in surrounding communities.
The frequency of meetings with Cuban government representatives to discuss project status, as well as for verification of donated equipment and materials, was affected in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions.