Rwanda is looking for investment to add value (processing) to minerals mined in the country, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) told investors during the first EU- business forum held from June 26 to June 27 in Kigali.
Adding value to minerals was among the many investment opportunities which RDB presented.
Rwanda already has a tin smelter, a gold refinery, and a tantalum refinery under construction.
However, RDB said: “Rwanda presents opportunities to establish other processing plants such as for tungsten, lithium, and gemstones cutting and polishing and other mineral processing.”
At least $50 million is needed to establish other processing plants.
It said that there are currently 1,439,602 tonnes of tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3Ts) reserves for a few recently explored sites showing the potential for value addition.
Rwanda is one of the world’s largest producers of tin, tantalum, and tungsten (3Ts).
In only a few recently mapped sites, it added, there are also 22 tonnes of gold reserves as well as 110,633,610 tonnes of rare earth minerals, lithium, beryllium, uranium, and iron ore.
The forum also discussed mechanisation, responsible mining, digitalisation, access to finance, and investment facilitation to enable the business environment in the mining sector.
“Funds gained from mining are being mobilised for investing in machinery while preserving the environment,” said Ivan Twagirashema, Deputy CEO of Rwanda Mining Board, while emphasising the importance of mechanisation in the mining industry.
During the forum, a Ꞓ4.1 million (Rwf5.16 billion) project aimed at sustainable mining to attract investors was launched.
Rwanda’s mineral exports fetched $247,480,699 in the first quarter of 2023 (January to March).
Rwanda’s mineral exports generated $683 million (about Rwf740 billion), an increase of 52.3 per cent compared to $448 million (about Rwf486 billion), in the January-November 2022 period, according to formal trade data from the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Gold raked in $488 million – equivalent to 71.5 per cent of the total mineral revenues – in the period January-November 2022, which is a rise of 55.5 per cent compared to $314 million in the same period of the previous year.
For quantity, eight tonnes of gold were exported in 2022 which is higher than the six tonnes that were exported in 2021.
The positive growth observed in the export of gold is consistent with the increase of imported and re-exported volumes of gold, following a 2.8 per cent increase in its price on the international market.
The 3Ts – which stand for tin (cassiterite), tungsten (wolframite), and tantalum (coltan), generated $186.3 million as Rwanda exported 7,844 tonnes in the period January-November 2022, representing a 42.2 per cent increase in value compared to 131 million when 6,235 tonnes were exported in the same 11-month period of the previous year.