Government is currently in joint ventures with international mining corporations to boost the country’s nascent mining sector, State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Vincent Karega, said yesterday.
Noting one of the prospective ventures, the Minister said that government has entered into a joint partnership with Kivu Resources, a Mauritius-based firm to augment the exploitation of columbium-tantalum (or coltan), in Gatumba.
He said that Kivu Resources is registered with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), and has been doing “good exploration” work to identify mineral deposits.
Karega says that the firm intends to invest at least $2.5m and build 10 small processing plants, in five years.
“They have done a lot of good exploration to identify deposits – not only in coltan but also in tin and wolfram,” Karega said, adding that government is waiting for the outcome of their study, next year.
“That is what will determine their future prospects.”
Kivu Resources owns 81 percent stake in a 35-year lease through its local subsidiary Gatumba Mining Rwanda Holdings.
Karega said government is also involved in a joint venture with South Africa’s Umlhaba Mining that is involved in the extraction of cassiterite in Rutongo mines, in Rulindo district.
He added that some $5m (Rwf2.9b) is being injected to revamp Rutongo mines in which government owns 49 percent shares. The funds will be spent on to the acquisition of equipment, training and consultancy services.
This comes a few days the Ministry of Natural Resources (Minirena) said that production and productivity in the mining sector continues to grow.
Despite a general drop in output, the current quarterly report shows that the country’s cassiterite and coltan export volumes registered an increase in the 3rd quarter of 2009 compared to the similar period in 2008.
Production in cassiterite upped from 366,660 to 374,880, kilograms respectively, a 14 percent variation between 3rd quarter 2008 and 2009. In the same period, coltan exports increased by 4 percent from 82,766 to 95,944 kilograms respectively.
In an earlier interview, Karega stressed that the optimism in the sector’s future growth is based on current investments that continue to grow, with more companies showing interest in Rwanda because of its enhanced ‘doing business’ environment.
Rwanda has over 108 small and medium mines, in all provinces, but the mining sector has been dominated by small-scale artisanal mining.