Nicaro, Pinares de Mayari


Main commodities: Ni Co
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The Nicaro laterite Ni-Co deposit is located ~60 km to the to the west of Moa Bay, on the northern coast in eastern Cuba (#Location: 20° 36' 7"N, 75° 31' 55"W).

The deposit has a reserve of just under 60 Mt @ 1.14% Ni, 0.1% Co (in 2000). It lies adjacent to the undeveloped Pinares de Mayari resource on the western side of the main Cretaceous peridotite mass and has a resource of around 200 Mt @ 1% Ni, 0.1% Co.

The laterite nickel deposits of Cuba are developed over an ophiolite belt along the NE coast of the island. This belt represents the suture between a now fault dislocated sheet of oceanic crust, that was obducted onto the North American plate after having been transported to the NE ahead of the advancing Caribbean Plate during the late Cretaceous.

Nicaro differs from Moa Bay to the east in that it has a more varied and complex lateritic profile with more nontronitic saprolite ore having been developed. In contrast to the Moa Bay and Pinares de Mayari deposits, the main part of the serpentinite mass at Nicaro was covered during the Tertiary by carbonate sediments. This resulted in modification of the serpentinite by ground waters and the development of carbonated serpentinite, but no change in the 0.12 to 0.24% Ni content.

After the erosion of the carbonate sediments, lateritisation proceeded normally near the surface, although at greater depths the presence of carbonates in the serpentinites produced more alkaline conditions. This has been interpreted as the main influence of the development of a nontronitic zone with the bulk of the nickel ore. Iron is less well developed in this zone with <20% Fe associated with 1 to 3% Ni. No Fe or Ni accumulations are found below the nontronitic zone. Nicaro is also in a zone of well developed valleys which have eroded, transported and re-deposited laterites and saprolite which have an irregular and lensoid geometry.

Four generalised levels are defined at Nicaro, namely an upper 0 to 8 m thick dark brown iron cap laterite with ferruginous concretions and 0.5% Ni, 43% Fe; a second layer of yellow and yellow-brown ochreous laterites from 1 to 30 m thick containing zones of both ore grade 1.3% Ni, 42% Fe and non-industrial 0.8% Ni, 42% Fe; a third layer of yellow and yellow-green clay saprolites with 1.5% Ni, 16% Fe, containing soft grey-green serpentinite fragments; and a lower 0 to 40 m thick irregular band of barren soft weathered green-grey serpentinite overlying fresh bedrock.

The most recent source geological information used to prepare this summary was dated: 2000.    
This description is a summary from published sources, the chief of which are listed below.
© Copyright Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd.   Unauthorised copying, reproduction, storage or dissemination prohibited.


  References & Additional Information
   Selected References:
de Vletter D R  1955 - How Cuban Nickel ore was Formed - A Lesson in Laterite Genesis: in    Engineering and Mining Journal   v156, no. 10, pp 84-87
Habashi F  1993 - Nickel in Cuba: in Reddy R G, Weizenbach R N (Eds),  The Paul E Queneau International Symposium, Extractive Metallurgy of Copper, Nickel and Cobalt, The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society   v1 Fundamental Aspects pp 1165-1178
Linchenat A, Shirokova I  1964 - Individual Characteristics of the Nickeliferous Iron (Laterite) Deposits of the Northeastern Part of Cuba: in    Proc. 22nd International Geol. Congress, New Delhi, Sect. 14 - Laterites    pp 171-187

Porter GeoConsultancy Pty Ltd (PorterGeo) provides access to this database at no charge.   It is largely based on scientific papers and reports in the public domain, and was current when the sources consulted were published.   While PorterGeo endeavour to ensure the information was accurate at the time of compilation and subsequent updating, PorterGeo takes no responsibility what-so-ever for inaccurate or out of date data, information or interpretations.

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