A Russian firm, ROSGEO, the State Geological Holding Company, will in the coming days debut the Rwandan mining sector undertaking geological surveys, exploratory studies and provision of equipment.
The firm’s entry into the local eco-system was on Wednesday this week facilitated by the signing of a mining and hydrocarbon Cooperation Agreement in Sochi, Russia on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit.
Francis Gatare the Chief Executive of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) signed on behalf of the government with Sergey Gorkov the firm’s Chief Executive representing Russia.
The pact formalises a commitment to develop and promote a mutually beneficial public-private cooperation and partnership in undertaking geochemical analysis of hydrocarbons samples from Lake Kivu and in managing and interpreting mining geophysical data.
As part of the agreement, the two parties will jointly identify future hydrocarbon exploration opportunities in the Lake Kivu basin, collaborate to set up a certified geochemistry, petrology and mineralogy laboratory, provide training in the study of geosciences, and develop Rwanda’s geothermal potential.
The agreement also provides for the supply of equipment and services for geological exploration and mining, technical assistance and transfer knowledge, and training in cutting-edge software needed for mining and hydrocarbons exploration.
Gatare said that the agreement serves to foster Russian investments in the local mining sector to bring on board the country’s expertise.
"This Agreement aims to foster Russian investments in Rwanda’s mining, oil and gas sector. With Russia’s expertise in the extractive sector there is no doubt the agreement will bear fruit," Gatare said.
While in Sochi, Gatare will also feature in two panel sessions ‘Using Minerals in Africa for the Benefit of Its Peoples’ and ‘Russian Geological Exploration in Africa: Looking to the Past and the Future’ which will among other things showcase opportunities in local mining sector.
The agreement comes days before East and Central Africa Mining Forum later this month with a number of firms taking part have expressed interest in investing in the local mining eco-system.
The mining sector has been growing steadily in recent years characterized by diversification beyond the dominant 3Ts (tin, tantalum and tungsten).
In the last two years, Rwanda has expanded its diversification strategy to include other minerals, particularly gemstones, gold, and industrial minerals.
According to data from RMB, Rwanda’s mineral exports generated $399 million in 2017-2018 financial year, from 7,000 tonnes..
The mining sector has been growing at an average rate of 20 per cent since 2006-2007.
The target is at growing minerals export revenues to $800 million by 2020 and $1.5 billion annually by 2024.