Posted on :Tuesday , 9th October 2018
The Mining sector is Rwanda's second largest foreign exchange earner just behind tourism and the resilient East African country took in $166-million from exports of the commodities in 2016.
Supported by a rebound in global prices of commodities, Rwanda's mineral exports earnings witnessed a more than double growth to $373-million in 2017 as compared to the previous 12 months, a top official said. Mr. Francis Gatare, Chief Executive at Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), told journalists after meeting sector players in the capital Kigali on Tuesday, that last year's earnings were "fantastic".
Mr. Gatare also added that the growth was "driven by very strong commodity prices on global market along with good prices of new commodities particularly gold and gemstone". Rwanda planned to install two smelters to help add value to some of its minerals such as tin and coltan and that earnings were seen climbing to $600-million in 2019.
The Director of Mineral Extraction and Processing Unit at Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, Donat Nsengumuremyi, said that countrywide campaigns on professional mining practices in addition to trimming down illegal mining practices to improve productivity in the sector have been launched.
According to industry officials monitoring the sector, the projections for this year is now $600m with exports volume of 10,000 tonnes. Officials also disclosed that there is ongoing exploration on 13 mining blocks for different minerals and there are already five packaged and tendered potential mining blocks for investment which are seeking investors. Preliminary ground geophysics and geological exploration works were conducted in 2017
The Governent has the goal of increasing mineral export revenues to $800 million by 2020 and $1.5 billion annually by 2024. There is a continued investment in exploration studies to understand the extent of deposits before bringing the private sector on board when appropriate. Gemstones resources occurrences have also been identified and mapped. So far an assessment for development, trading, cutting and polishing has been made and the projects are being discussed for financing options.
Currently, Rwanda exports four main types of minerals, including gold, cassiterite, coltan, and wolfram. The government is currently having discussions with companies local, regional and international to invest in manufacturing mining and processing equipment. There are also discussions with companies that want to establish consultancy services specialized in mining, whether in environment social-impact studies or feasibility studies.