Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

13 December 2012

Rwanda: Wolfram Mining and Processing Secures Tungsten Mining Concession

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MINIRENA) and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) have signed a five-year mining concession extension with Wolfram Mining and Processing Limited for Wolfram also known as Tungsten exploitation.

The concession area comprises a mine in Gifurwe, Burera District in the Northern Province. Wolfram Mining and Processing Limited will invest about US$ 6M with this extension. It is currently conducting a detailed prospecting and feasibility study.

At the signing Jean Malic Kalima, Regional Director of Wolfram Mining and processing Ltd said that; "We are pleased to renew the contract as this will give us more time to explore our reserves."

The Minister of Natural Resources Stanislas Kamanzi said that the renewal of this contract, signed on Tuesday, is in line with government's new directives to comply with best mining practices and increased investments in this particular sector.

"More investment in this sector can contribute to Rwanda's economic development especially in balancing imports and exports while creating new jobs," Kamanzi said in a press statement to The Rwanda Focus.

Mining is part of government's strategy to secure raw materials from its own natural resources. Wolfram remains an important mineral for shaping metals, wood, composites, plastics and ceramics as well as for the mining and construction industries.

The Rwanda Development Board's Strategic Investment Unit conducted negotiations with Wolfram Mining and Processing Limited in collaboration with MINIRENA. The negotiations agreed performance milestones, investments and expected work plan from the mine.

Semi-industrial production at the mine took place from 1942 to 1985, first under Belgian, then under Rwandese ownership. Production totaled some 4200t of contained WO3. Following bankruptcy of SOMIRWA in 1985, only discontinuous artisanal mining was undertaken. When the state-owned REDEMI was privatised in 2006, the concession was acquired by WMP. Production from early 2007 to October 2009 totaled 290t of concentrate with about 55-60% WO3.

The WMP uninterrupted production, increased concentrate tonnage, number of personal and miners on site increased from 150 at REDEMI times to more than 1100 miners assisted by sophisticated equipments like Bulldozers, trucks , excavators, among others.

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