It did not occur to the Spanish conquistadors to do the hard work of mining and farming themselves. They wanted to get rich from someone else’s labor.
At that time, the Portuguese were trading captured Africans as slaves. As the Arawak began to die out, African slaves were shipped in to replace them. The Africans were treated just as brutally, but survived and grew in numbers.
Many people of the present-day West Indies are descended, at least in part, from Africans transported there in chains.