Rwanda Seeks to Extract Full Benefits from Mining

As part of the National Strategy for Transformation (#NST1), Rwanda plans to hike up mining exports up to USD 1.5 billion. Currently, mining exports already bring in about USD one billion annually.

The main minerals exported include gold, cassiterite, coltan, wolfram and several gemstones. There are 158 mining companies registered in Rwanda. Mining exports represented one-third of total exports in 2017 and is forecasted to climb to nearly half of the total exports by 2024.

According to some estimates, Rwanda possesses mineral reserves worth USD 150 billion. However, the potential remained largely untapped.

Another reform aimed at boosting the mining sector is the introduction of mining instrument in the banking sector. This means that a miner will be able to present a exploitation license as collateral to a bank in order to access capital.

Currently, the mining sector in Rwanda is highly fragmented with most of the work performed by ‘artisanal miners.’ To scale up and to modernize, the mining sector must adopt moder exploration and exploitation techniques.

Mechanization of the sector will push productivity and increate the recovery rate of minerals. Comparatively, it is estimated that artisanal mining methods only recover at most 20% of the valuable minerals whereas modern methods may recover up to 45%.

Another policy of the government is to promote Local Value Addition (#LVA). To that end, a gold refinery, a tin smelter and a coltan refinery are on the drawing board and will hopefully see the light soon.