Miners in the country have been urged to take advantage of current low prices of minerals on the international market to stock enough reserves to sell when prices stabilise.
The appeal was made by the State Minister in charge of minerals, Evode Imena while addressing over 50 representatives of mining associations nationwide, at a meeting in Kigali on Tuesday.
Participants included newly elected committees of miners’ association at provincial level.
The meeting discussed the impact of drop in mineral prices and way forward.
“This is a difficuld period for some miners due to extreme reduction in mineral prices. Yet, the situation will not remain the same. It is time for miners to boost mining activities and stock so that when prices stabilise they can be able to export more, ,” Imena said.
Currently, there are about 600 licensed miners who are expected to meet the overall target for the mining sector to achieve $400 million (about Rwf268 billion) worth of exports by 2017/18.
However, last year, total mineral export earnings dropped by almost 10 per cent from $225.7 million (about Rwf161.4 billion) in 2013 to $203.32 million (about Rwf145.4 billion), mainly due to a decline in international prices.
Jean Marie Vianey Ntagungira, the chairperson of mining associations in the Eastern Province cited fraud and illegal trading of minerals among the challenges facing the sector
He said: “We should be able to cope with prices at the market. Prices have significantly dropped, but we should understand that there is no market with static prices. As we cope with prices at international market, we should unite to fight illegal trading and fraud which also impede on the sector.”
Gerard Nkusi Mukubu, the chief of advocacy at the Private Sector Federation (PSF) urged miners to harmonise efforts to boost the sector performance.
“Harmonise your efforts to achieve more. I think we can do much to showcase our minerals,” Mukubu told miners.
“This would not only help you to fight fraud and illegal trading of minerals, but also to empower yourselves,” he added.
Since its privatisation in 2009, the mining sector has grown from a mainly trading industry to an investment industry currently having more than 250 prospecting, exploration and mining companies (with at least 500 mine sites).