17 December 2012

Rwanda: Mining Day Celebrated in Kayonza

Kayonza — Wolfram Mining and Processing Company (WMP) based in Rwinkwavu sector, in Kayonza district, celebrated International Mining Day over the weekend.

According to WMP Managing Director, Malic Kalima, the celebration came at a time when the company was doing well both in mining and processing. Tin and Wolfram are the major minerals mined in the sectors of Murama, Rwinkwavu and Mwiri.

Kalima said that the company had made progress, especially the acquisition of a new processing factory which will enable the company expand on activities and subsequently increase its revenue.

"Our activities have mainly been centred on research......we are now set for full-scale mining. In addition to modern mining machines we recently acquired from the Czech Republic, we have a new processing factory," he said.

WMP has acquired modern drilling machines and compressors and a new processing factory.

Kalima noted that WMP aims at improving miners' working conditions, adding that it was necessary to curb theft.

He said that issues of theft were minimal, adding that the firm was trying to improve miners working conditions.

"We want miners to be professionals, develop their families and communities. A new shopping mall has been established to help them access food and other commodities on credit and cheaply," he said.

The price of Tin remains high at USD$ 20.000 per tonne on the world market.

John Mugabo, the Kayonza district Mayor who presided over the function, said that mining should develop neighbouring communities and the country at large.

The Mayor noted that mining was an important activity that gave an alternative to agriculture.

"We want the youth particularly to engage in other activities that supplement agriculture...miners and their families should not struggle to get basic needs, even when there is general food shortage. Pay for health insurance and save for the future," he told miners.

Rwinkwavu has a bad history of mineral theft and violence; and last year a gang of illegal miners clashed with the police.

Meanwhile, Evode Imena a geologist working with Rwanda Natural Resources told The New Times that Rwanda's capacity to process the minerals was still wanting.

"There is indeed a big gap in processing...such factory can only process 60% leaving the rest for a waste. The majority of our miners process using traditional means with only capacity of 20%. So, we need to improve on technology," Imena said.

Rwinkwavu minerals were discovered by Belgian brothers Gargarathos in 1930, and mining started in 1939 by Ridell and Gastrell (also Belgians).

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