Rwanda will achieve 80 percent certification of its minerals by end of March, in line with US requirements on conflict minerals, authorities have said.
The process aims at ending illegal trade in four conflict minerals; gold, tin, tantalum and tantalite, from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is marked as a conflict zone, and her neighbouring countries.
Michael Biryabarema, Director General of Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR), told an international conference, yesterday, in Kigali, that four local mining firms joined a pilot survey to ascertain levels of good governance in Rwanda’s mining sector.
The four firms which include Gatumba Mining Concession, Eurotrade international, Rutongo Mines and Wolframite Mining and Processing have fulfilled the requirements for this certification.
Rwanda has been implementing the ITRI Tin Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi), an internationally recognized tagging and sealing system to facilitate the process since December last year. So far, through the exercise, permission for tagging was granted to 62 minerals in 9 companies.
“The Certified Trading Chains (CTC) standards provide OGMR and concerned institutions basis for establishing best practice in Rwanda’s mineral sector by verifying the origin and transparency of our mineral flows, as well as addressing working conditions and environment concerns,” Biryabarema said.
Liberata Mulamula, the Executive Secretary of International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), said that certifying minerals will prevent renegade military units, particularly in DRC, from exploiting the trade of high value minerals like tin and gold.
“Mining in Africa has been characterised with violent conflict, mistreatment of miners, illegal trade as well as a clear link between exploitation of minerals and the funding of illegal armed groups,” Mulamula said.
“Certifying and tagging minerals from the region will improve transparency and good governance in the extraction process, support compliance with minimum social standards, and counter illegal trade.”
Lahra Liberti of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said that the US law has no specific deadline for countries to implement the tagging scheme, but it requires a disclosure of use of minerals from DRC and its neighbours.
The conference attracted mineral authorities, dealers and experts from the Great Lakes Region as well as international stakeholders and investors.