The Ministry of Energy and Mines has signed this 20 November, research conventions with CVMR Energy Minerals Incorporation of Toronto Canada for exploring mineral concessions in Waga-Nyabikere and Mukanda areas. The latter have proven and estimated reserves of Nickel, Cobalt, Iron, copper, PGMs, Vanadium and titanium
Kamran M. Khozan, Chairman and CEO of CVMR, says the company has committed approximately USD 40 million for the surveys and drilling to prove the reserves in these properties and to complete their piloting and feasibility study by January 2018. "Work has already begun and Burundi government expects to receive CVRM's bankable feasibilities studies for these properties in due course", he says.
The CVMR Chairman also says the company has already signed an agreement with a local Burundian engineering firm, Jacob Mining Engineering and an international one, South African, engineering firm, DRA to provide detailed engineering and project management for these concessions. "When the operations are successfully completed, we expect to have about 1500 technical jobs created in Burundi", he says.
Côme Manirakiza, Minister of Energy and Mines, says that the geological formations of the Waga (Gitega)-Nyabikere (Karuzi) deposits are ideally suited to CVMR's Nickel, Iron, Cobalt, Copper and associated minerals. "They have three year term for the first time, but the period should be renewed twice, two years for each term", he says. The Minister says that Nickel has an important value in the future given that vehicles will use nickel batteries thanks to the new technologies. "Many people are looking for Nickel batteries and energy related components, as the price has recently increased on the international market", he says.
Gabriel Rufyiri, chairman of the corruption watchdog says OLUCOME deplores this granting of mineral deposits whether at the level of research or exploitation. For Olucome, everything must be transparent. "As we have often pointed out, it is an organized theft of minerals. Unfortunately, we shout no one wants to listen to us", he says.
For Olucome, there must be clear, published to have a company that deserves the bid either for research or exploitation, after making a credible contest. "It is not the case for today. For all the companies that come to Burundi, it looks like an agreement between the company and the commissionaires on one hand and a representative of the government without any competition on the other hand", he says.
Waga-Nyabikere covers 218 square kilometers and has a total estimated reserve of 1,088,000 metric tons of Nickel; 25,200,000 metric tons of Iron; 30,000 metric tons of cobalt and 17,800 metric tons of Copper at a total estimated value of USD 30 billion.
Mukanda covers 144 square kilometers of proven reserve of vanadium; iron, nickel with an estimated value of USD 600 million.