Miners worried over declining prices on international market

Some samples of precious stones that were showcased at a mining summit in Kigali recently. Emmanuel Kwizera

Worries continue to grow among players in the mining sector as prices of mineral products continue to plummet at the international market as indicated in the report released last week by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).

The report highlights that Rwanda’s the economy grew by 11.9 per cent in the period between July and September with the current value of all finished goods and services produced in Rwanda estimated to be Rwf2,358 billion, up from Rwf2,065 billion in the same period last year.

The majority of sectors of economy have had an increased contribution to the GDP but that has not been the case to the mining sector whose contribution to GDP, according to NISR, reduced by 16 per cent due to a decline in commodity prices in the international market.

Finance Minister, Uzziel Ndagijimana explained last week that the low prices of mining products on the international market had led a section of miners to hesitate to export products.

It is becoming a serious concern to investors in the mining sector as the international market has remained unstable for some months.

Malick Kalima, the Director of Wolfram Mining and Processing Company Ltd, operating in Rwinkwavu sector, Kayonza District in Eastern Province, told The New Times that the falling prices of minerals is impacting heavily on the sector.

“Our issue is not about the volume of minerals; it might be the same or bigger than last year’s. However the prices of almost all mines have declined on the international market. It is affecting us because we didn’t earn the revenues we had projected,” said Kalima who also doubles as the Chairperson of Rwanda Miners’ Association.

Kalima said the falling prices have nothing to do with the quality of minerals exported on the international market, but rather an issue affecting all countries producing minerals.

“We do not have much to do on the prices because this is not the case of Rwanda only. What we are only doing is to increase the produce we take to the market so we can increase the revenue,” he added.

Francis Gatare, the CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) admits the decline of prices is affecting the sector but encouraged investors in the sector to focus on value addition to attract better prices.

“That is why we are now having mineral factories on board that could help us in refinery of minerals like gold, tantalum and wolfram so as to add value to the minerals we take to the international market,” he said.

Gatare revealed that they are looking to discover new minerals as a way to diversify the minerals being exported from the country.

“We have a small number of minerals at the market and we need to discover new ones so that there is balance between the minerals whose prices increased and those that saw prices falling on the market,” he said.

He also encouraged miners to increase the volumes of mineral exports to maintain that stability of their revenues.

Rwanda targets to collect $800 million by 2020 and $1.5 billion by 2024.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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