THE GOVERNMENT is committed to working with investors in the mining sector to increase four-fold the annual export revenues for the sector in line with the seven-year national programme.
This was said by Francis Gatare, the CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum, and Gas Board last weekend while in Burera District as he joined Wolfram Mining Processing Ltd workers to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the firm.
Gatare said that unlike in previous years, this year the mineral exports were quite good as the estimate is that revenues from minerals will double this year.
“As of November the mining sector had generated $300 million while the average income generated over the past five years was $200 million, so we are hoping that though we are yet to gather the general statistics, revenues will double,” he said
He attributed the increase in revenues from the sector to efforts that have been put in by the miners, continued investment in the sector and the quest to professionalise the industry.
He said that it was a good thing that Wolfram Mining Processing Ltd is owned by a Rwandan who ensures that more Rwandans also benefit.
Currently the mining company employs over 1000 employees including contractors who manage mines and sell the minerals to the company, according to officials.
Long way to go
However, despite progress made to double revenues this year, it is still hard to reach the target of generating $1.5billion annually and experts say more efforts need to be put to ensure the target is achieved.
Gatare also encouraged investors and everyone involved in the mining value chain to involve the youth who are professionally trained in geology to boost produce.
“We committed that mining should contribute $1.5bn per year to meaningfully contribute to the seven year government programme. For this to happen, we need partnerships, we need to put in more efforts, more investment and especially innovation in value addition to minerals,” he said
“We need to combine both experience and new skills, we have the youth who are graduating from local colleges and there is need you work together to boost the sector,” he added.
Gatare also pledged government commitment to work with investors and facilitate them to easily venture into mining sector adding that the country has enough mineral reserves which, if well exploited, can meet the target and more.
“While the government encourages the private sector to venture into mining, some companies still practice artisanal mining and accidents are still prevalent. There is need to do more and we will keep working with you to modernise this sector,” he said.
“Jean Malic Kalima, the Managing Director of Wolfram Mining and Processing Ltd who also doubles as the president of Rwanda Mining Association, said 10 years down the road, they have gained experience and made strides despite unstable prices on the international market.
“The company started in 2006 with only 45 employees and 1 tonne of Wolfram per month but now we have over 1000 employees and the produce increased 10 times, now the produce varies to between nine tonnes to 10 tonnes and we are committed to applying new technologies and working with skilled people to further increase out put,” he said
Employees speak out
Joyeuse Uwineza one of the employees said working in the mines changed her life and that of her family.
She started working in the mines in 2012 and worked hard to become a contractor with over 60 employees she supervises.
“I sell the minerals to the company and this has turned my life around. I helped my parents, educated my siblings, I have managed to build a house worth Rwf5 million, On average I can get between Rwf400, 000 and RWf500, 000 per month,” she said.