A British mining company Metalysis UK has announced that by next year, it will have completed the construction of a USD16m (approximately Rwf14.7bn) refinery for tantalum in Rwanda.
The refinery construction is expected to start before the end of this year, according to Ray Power, the Chief Executive of Metalysis UK, who said the completion is expected around mid-next year.
The plant is expected to have a processing capacity of 120 tonnes of concentrate per month. It will be located in Bugesera District, Eastern Province.
The much-needed refinery deal has existed for almost two years when the investor pitched the idea to Rwanda Development Board and the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board around 2018.
In an interview with The New Times, Power said;
“We have finished the design of the refinery. In the meantime, we also have been developing our mines as well so that we could have a stable feed.”
He promised that the company will be bringing advanced technology to Rwanda, and he expressed hope that over the years, more technology will be introduced.
“By doing what we are doing, we will also stimulate the mining sector and help professionalize the value chain on the mining level with geological assistance, and with processing technology,” he said.
Tantalum is a unique metal used in many specialist applications. Its resistance to chemical corrosion and high melting point make it a desirable choice for chemical plant equipment and a host of advanced technology applications.
Its electrical properties make it a leading choice for the production of high-performance capacitors in critical electronics applications such as airbag deployment systems, brake control systems, and computer control systems in cars.
The move towards electric vehicles is creating a stronger demand for higher performance tantalum capacitors which requires tantalum metal powder producers to innovate higher capacitance powders.
With the new refinery, Rwanda will be home to 3 refineries including one for gold and another for tin.