Companies in the U.S. can't cut deals with Cuba because of the embargo, but Canadians are rushing in. In one of the biggest moves yet, Canada's Sherritt Inc. signed a tentative contract with Cuba's General Nickel Co. to form a jointly owned company to mine, refine, and market Cuba's rich nickel and cobalt reserves. The new joint venture would include Sherritt's Alberta refinery, a Cuban processing plant, and access to Cuban mines with enough reserves to supply operations for an estimated 50 years. Through its Canada Northwest Energy Ltd. unit, Sherritt is also involved in oil production and exploration in Cuba and recently announced a new find in the Bay of Crdenas east of Havana.

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