Vol 62, Núm. 1, 2010, p. 187-198

La pequeña minería del oro en Cuba: historia, metalogenia y perspectiva

Small mining for gold in Cuba: its history, metallogeny, and perspective

Roberto Díaz Martínez1

1 Instituto Superior Minero Metalúrgico de Moa, Las Coloradas, s/n, Moa, Holguín, C.P. 83320, Cuba.

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The history of gold mining in Cuba has been described in numerous published works; however, it has not been systematized in accordance with the socio–economic developments of the island. Several classifications and conceptual models have been presented on the gold metallogeny in Cuba, but they are not clear and do not plainly reflect the essential attributes that characterize gold mineralization on the island. The aforementioned circumstances justified a historical–descriptive research project based on an exhaustive literature review, and the analysis and interpretation of the available information. Gold mining on the island extends over three historical stages: colonial, neocolonial and revolutionary.

Four main metallogenetic episodes for gold formation can be distinguished on the island of Cuba: (i) an Aptian–Campanian stage of mineralization with low– and high–sulfidation Au–Cu porphyries, Au skarns and Au–Ag epithermal deposits; (ii) a late Campanian–early Danian episode that hosts orogenic–type gold mineralization and listvenites; (iii) very prolifc Danian–middle Eocene gold mineralization in listvenites in Central Cuba and in Palaeogene volcanic island arc rocks in the southern part of eastern Cuba; and lastly, (iv) an Oligocene–Recent mineralization stage in which surface gossans are produced by the oxidation of sulfide ores and placers. The future of gold mining in Cuba is very attractive, but at a small to medium scale.

Keywords: Small–scale mining, gold, history, metallogeny, Cuba.