TOP STORY:Minerals’ Minister speaks out on 2009 targets

Last year’s earnings surpassed government’s projections of $81 million (Rwf753 million) by $12 million (Rwf6.8 billion).  Rwanda’s mining sector targets to generate US$100 million (Rwf56.4 billion) from its minerals this year.
Minister Vincent Karega.(File photo)
Minister Vincent Karega.(File photo)

Last year’s earnings surpassed government’s projections of $81 million (Rwf753 million) by $12 million (Rwf6.8 billion). 

Rwanda’s mining sector targets to generate US$100 million (Rwf56.4 billion) from its minerals this year.

According to the State Minister of Environment and Mining, Vincent Karega, $100 million (Rwf56.4 billion) is a moderate target compared to the country’s mineral potentials.

“This is due to the persistence of the global financial crisis, which caused about 30 percent drop in the prices of wolfram and cassiterite on the international market,” he explained during a recent exclusive interview.

The revenues will represent a 7.5 percentage increase of last year’s mineral earnings of $93 million (Rwf52.3 billion). The sector’s revenue target falls second after tourism in Rwanda key foreign exchange earners.

Tourism is expected to generate $224 million well as coffee and tea are expected to fetch $60 million (Rwf33.8 billion) and $54 million (Rwf30.4 billion) respectively. It is also only 8.3 percent short of achieving the 2012 target of $109 million (Rwf61.4 billion) stipulated in the 2008 monetary statement.

Karega said that this might have caused set backs in last year’s mineral revenues but does not deprive it of its potentials to meet its targets this year.

Last year’s earnings surpassed government’s projections of $81 million (Rwf753 million) by $12 million (Rwf6.8 billion)—an increase of 15 percent.

Rwanda mineral earnings are derived mostly from cassiterite, coltan, wolfram, and gold. These key minerals fetched US$70.6 million (Rwf93.4 billion) in 2007, representing 40 percent of the total national exports revenues.

Cassiterite, a tin oxide mineral (SnO2) dominates in revenue generation, beating other key and highly valued minerals such as Wolfram (FeMnWO3), Coltan and Gold (Au).

As of October, 2008, the mineral fetched revenues to the tune of US$37.6 million (Rwf20.5 billion) from 3.7 million kgs extracted. It also represented a 45.9 percent of the total revenue of $81.9 million (Rwf44.7 billion) in the same period.

In efforts towards realising the target, Karega said that government will continue to monitor the sector’s performance while encouraging and facilitating value addition, adding, “Long-term leasing will be encouraged for performing investors to extract more minerals.”

Government in Vision 2020 identified the mining sector as one to diversify exports, thereby instituting a clear policy and law protecting investors.

It is upon this background that it is injecting Rwf12.5 billion in the sector for 2008-2010, in order to strengthen its regulation, avail new data to interested investors, support value addition to metallic ores and quarries, and into the sector consolidation and sensitisation programme.

Karega also disclosed that the ministry will continue to attract more investors in the sector to exploit other untapped minerals that will also fetch in more revenues.

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