After two-years of negotiations, three locally registered mining companies have merged to create the largest mining firm in the country called Trinity Metals Group. The merger is expected to significantly scale up the production of tin, tantalite, and tungsten minerals in Rwanda. The merger involves Rutongo Mines Ltd, Eurotrade International Ltd, and Piran Rwanda Ltd, which are already mining the three minerals as well as the exploration of lithium. The new firm announced it would be investing up to $30m (approx. Rwf30bn) which will be used to open new mining concessions, purchase mining equipment and improve infrastructure, among others. ALSO READ: Rwanda banks on value addition to make most of mining sector Besides being an industry leader, the new firm is now one of the biggest employers in the country, employing about 5000 Rwandans, the majority who come from the local communities surrounding the mining operations. Speaking at the official launch of the merger on Thursday, the Minister of Finance, Uzziel Ndagijimana, congratulated the three companies for working together, a step that he said required leadership, boldness, foresight innovation from all the parties involved. ALSO READ: Towards a modern and sustainable mining sector in Rwanda “These qualities that you demonstrated are the exact ones needed to take our mining sector to new heights,” he said. He reminded that Rwanda has established a legal, regulatory and institutional framework to support the mining sector and will continue to improve it to promote investment in line with its ambition to boost the modernization and value addition of the sector. ALSO READ: Yamina Karitanyi discusses professionalism, investments in mining sector Despite its position as a second earner of export receipts, the minister noted that the mining sector is far from reaching its full potential. “We expect Trinity Metals Group to contribute significantly in modernization of the mining sector, creating more decent jobs, protecting our environment, and contributing to our economic growth,” Ndagijimana said. He pointed out that to realize the potential for the mining industry, there is need to use technology to increase productivity in extraction, to consider staff and environment as an asset, and to care about safety and sustainability, as well as adding value to the country’s minerals before export. ALSO READ: Rwanda’s mining potential is yet to be fully exploited- PM This, he emphasized, should be done in compliance with safety standards and environmental protection to ensure that all minerals comply with regional and international traceability schemes. Yamina Karitanyi, CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), said that this merger comes at a time when the board is focusing on forging partnerships and consolidation of small mining operators. “This is with an aim to turn them into financially capable groups to raise capital, enabling the sector to afford infrastructure and to increase productivity while complying with environmental standards,” she added. Peter Geleta, CEO of Trinity Metals, said the company is committed to transforming Rwandan mines into world class operations. “Over the past 18 months, we’ve made significant progress as we start this journey. Substantially, $30 million was contributed by our shareholders to take this step of opening up new mining areas, purchase mining equipment, improve our infrastructure, increase employment opportunities, and increase our support of local communities,” he noted. Geleta added that they will be making further investments to expand their mines by opening up new mining areas in the next five years, with great focus on the safety of their workers and communities around the mines, as well as that of the environment. On the other hand, Jean Malic Kalima, President of Rwanda Miners Association, highlighted that the unity and ambition that saw these three companies come together is testament to the great potential of the country’s mining sector. “What we have witnessed today is a significant milestone. Let this motivate us to do more in our respective companies. Thinking big and working harder will uplift our companies as we consider the following opportunities,” he told miners. He listed different opportunities including, supporting and transforming Rwanda into a regional hub for mining value addition, processing from the entire region, and export. In addition to strengthening the supply chain, encouraging small scale artisanal mining, as well as enhancing capacity building through training in related fields. For 29 years now since the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, Shawn McCormick, Chairman of Trinity Mining Group, said that he has been witness to the country’s transformation and change from a devastated nation into a true beacon of light and hope on the continent. “Now we, as Trinity Metals want to be part of that economic transformation and doing it together is the only way to get things done here. There is no conflict but only the struggle to get better, to improve ourselves as individuals and communities where we function and operate in our societies as a whole,” he concluded. In 2022, the National Institute of Statistics indicated that the mining sector grew by 15 percent in terms of GDP contributions.