The Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR) has initiated a mineral tagging and sealing scheme, known internationally as the iTSCi project, as the country moves to curb illegal trading of minerals, especially from the neighbouring DR Congo, where they have helped fuel and sustain decades of violence.
The move will ensure that Rwandan minerals have unfettered access to international markets, once the purchasing embargo on unidentifiable minerals comes into effect in April. Additionally, the initiative demonstrates the country’s commitment to the security of the people of this region, particularly the Congolese civilians who have endured years of unimaginable suffering, at the hands of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and allied armed militias.
Tagging and sealing our own minerals will not only ensure that anyone interested will trace their origin with ease, but will bring to an end the falsehoods that have been peddled, to the effect that Rwanda does not have its own minerals but instead smuggles them from eastern DR Congo.
Therefore, OGMR’s decision to tag and seal Rwandan minerals will not only reassure traders and end-users, but also assure the international community about the legitimacy of the export.
More importantly, Rwanda will have played its part in international efforts aimed at isolating and weakening opportunists in DR Congo’s conflict zones.
However, other countries, especially in the region, need to follow suit if any impact is to be realized. Whereas no system could be said to be full proof, the move would deal a heavy blow to the continued scrambling for mineral resources that often ends in violence against communities, not only in the Great Lakes Region, but around the world.