September 20, 2017

Opportunities beckon in Rwanda’s mining sector

For investors Rwanda’s mining sector, the adage goes “size does not matter” says rings true. There are number of areas where there are opportunities to be explored in the sector, which are listed below.

  • Mineral Exploration Opportunities: Intensive, up to date and detailed mineral exploration can be carried out in the recently identified Prospective Target Areas (PTAs) to delineate and quantify their mineral resources. The Government of Rwanda has invested in exploration works in PTAs to generate good primary geology data to be used by mineral exploration companies.
  • Mining Opportunities (Tin, Tungsten, Coltan and Gemstones): The mining law grants the right to exploit three categories of mines: artisanal, small scale, and large scale mines to any person/ company with proven technical expertise and financial capacity to develop and run a mining project.
  • Industrial Mining. Currently, Rwanda’s mining sector is mostly artisanal; Modern technology is needed to upgrade the sector to a semi- mechanized and later at  industrial level to increase production which is low compared to the proven potential. At least mining equipment including drillers, bulldozers, gravity table shakers etc. are needed to upgrade the sector.
  • Targeting Value Addition: Rwanda’s mineral ores produced in the country are 100% exported as raw mineral concentrates, not as metals. The establishment of processing plants to smelt cassiterite into tin, refining wolframite and tantalite into tungsten and tantalum respectively is open to private investors.
  • Partnership with Local Mining Companies: Most local mining companies are artisanal in their settings. Over 400 local mining companies and 30 co-operatives are open to consider partnership and JVs, covering financing, capital equipment, technical support and competitive mineral trade contracts.
  • Gemstones: The exploration and exploitation of gemstones is still at a low level. Rwanda possesses a variety of gemstones including; Beryl (Aquamarine), Amblygonite, Corundum (Ruby and Sapphire), Tourmalines and different types of Quartz. Setting up cutting and polishing plants of gemstones is also an opportunity.
  • Trade in Mineral Substances: Trade in mineral substances is carried out by holders of mining and mineral trading licenses and owners of smelting and screening companies. Trading in minerals, including cassiterite, wolframite and niobium – tantalite must contain at least 30% value added.
  • Industrial Minerals. Targeting industrial minerals exploitation and processing production to meet the demand for construction materials is still low especially tiles, slabs sculptures, paints, bricks and concrete aggregates.

Rwanda possesses variety minerals such as good quality silica sands, kaolin, vermiculite, diatomite, clays, limestone, talcum, gypsum and pozzolan.

Source: Rwanda Development Board

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