The New Times (Kigali)

4 December 2012

Rwanda: Miners Celebrate 2012 Progress

Government is targeting to generate US$400 million from the mining industry by 2017, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources has announced.

Speaking at the International Mines day celebrations, Caroline Kayonga said that government is stepping up efforts of primary exploration of minerals in the country which is geared towards attracting competitive investors.

Last year, the sector earned $158 million from mineral trading and this year it expects to generate about US$150 million.

"In order to optimise sustainable production, the government attaches great importance to defining the national mineral resource potential," said Kayonga.

She emphasised that, achieving the US$400 million target will depend on the definition of mineral potential and the attraction of very credible investors.

"Mining is the second largest foreign exchange earner after tourism but we believe the current figures can be quadrupled in a few years if resource evaluation, mobilisation and optimisation become key aspects of our industry," she noted.

The event, attended by miners, business leaders and government officials, was held under the theme "Exploring the national mineral potential for better planning for development".

She added that 2 million Euros have been invested in exploration and atleast 4 million Euros is planned for next year in the same mission.

Rwanda produces about 8000 to 9000 tonnes of mineral compounds every year. The country ranks eighth in the world for un-melted tin, which translates into 1.5 per cent of global tin production.

Rwanda last year adopted a mineral tagging and sealing scheme, internationally recognised as the iTSCi project. The system aims to ensure that the origin of all minerals can be traced.

The exercise gained currency after Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law by the US President in 2009. The act aims at barring "conflict minerals" from gaining access to the US market.

iTSCi is an international tin supply chain initiative which seeks to ensure traceability of tin.

According to Jean Malic Kalima, president of Rwanda Mining Association, miners are happy with government's support to the mining sector.

"Despite the skills gap challenges, we have managed to progress at fast pace. The mining policy emphasises knowledge based mining," he said.

Kalima called for strong partnership between miners and the government to realise the potential of the sector.

Rwanda, through international mining companies, is currently exploring oil and gas in Lake Kivu, and Gold in Miyove in Gicumbi district.

According to Simba Gold Corp, a Canada-based mining company and Rogi Mining Rwanda, the country's largest gold explorers, there is a huge potential of gold in Miyove sector.

The international companies which are in charge of Miyove Gold Project announced the initial results from a 4,000 meter drill and trenching programme recently. The companies are prospecting gold on 2,937 hectare under Miyove Gold Project

"Rwanda has Gold but the question is the amount of Gold. We would like to know the amount of Gold the country has and that is what we are doing now to estimate the results. At the moment we have some good indications," said Oleg Moiseev, Managing Director, Rogi Mining Rwanda.

He explained that by the end of January next year, they will have proved those results of four mineralised Gold zones of Karenda, Baradega, and Murehe.

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