Published on April 22 2015

Cuba: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

Mining.com reports that there are 246 mining, oil, and gas projects in Cuba waiting for investors to take interest now that the US and Cuba are normalizing relations. Cuba, it turns out, is already among the world’s top 10 nickel producers, and the US Geological Survey estimates that the country has 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 4.6 billion barrels of oil. This should come as no surprise, given the huge deposits of various minerals known to exist along the island arc from Cuba to Puerto Rico, including Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, one of the largest gold mines in the world.

Sounds exciting: the country could easily become an area-play flavor of the day. But we caution readers against being hasty. Just because one can invest doesn’t mean one should. Cuba may indeed be opening up to more direct foreign investment, but that doesn’t mean the country has or will have the legal framework in place that prudent investors should insist on. Even if the country were to adopt a new, modern mining code that enables investors to reap the rewards of the risks they take, labor laws that allow industrial concerns to operate at a profit, and other measures to ensure investor rights are upheld, it would still have no real track record.

In short, no matter what they say or do, for years to come, Cuba should be regarded as a very high-risk investment destination… a raw gamble on unknown odds.