GASABO - The Minister of State for Minerals and Natural Resources, Vincent Karega, has drawn attention to potential that exists in the Rwandan mining sector and urged investors to venture into excavation of the natural resources in order to hit a jackpot that will benefit all parties.
“A big part of Rwanda is covered with mineral resources. The only challenge we are facing is lack of capacity to fully exploit these resources. So we encourage as many investors as possible to venture in this sector,” Karega said.
He was addressing a delegation of visitors from the US led by US Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, at the Ministry Headquarters in Kimihurura.
The Americans had come with the intention of finding out more about Rwanda’s mining sector.
The Minister also pointed out that a big number of those who were given permits to exploit the minerals are artisan miners who end up compromising the environment.
The Director General of the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority, Michael Baryamureba, also noted that there are many redundant permits which are not put to proper use.
He said that this calls for an institution to deliver support services to artisan miners and a better organisation for other small scale miners.
Baryamureba further pointed out that mineral exploration was last done in the 1980s therefore posing a need to update the national potential.
The key minerals currently being exploited traded in Rwanda are cassterite (SnO2), wolframite (FeMnWO3), colombo-tantalite (coltan) (Ta2O5, Nb2O5) and gold (Au).
Abundant peat deposits are known to exist in the country. 155,000,000 tons of dry peat has so far been quantified.
Last year alone the mining sector fetched $93 million (Rwf 52.3 billion). According to information from the Ministry of Natural resources, the figure represents an increase of 31 percent from $71 million (Rwf 40 billion) earned in 2007.