MINERAL RESOURCES IN RWANDA:Rwanda natural resources
Mining is the second largest export in the Rwandan economy? The sector exported about 7,000-9,000 tonnes of minerals comprising of tin(cassiterite), tantalum(coltan) and tungsten(wolfram) as well as non-traditional minerals like gold.
New geophysics and geological surveys have found deposits of several new minerals in different parts of Rwanda, including rare earth elements, gemstones, cobalt, iron, lithium, Petroleum, peat and Nickel. In addition to this, the country has other precious stones such as amphibolite, granites, quartzite, volcanic rocks(limestone), clays(kaolin, talcum), good quality silica sands, vermiculite, diatomite, gypsum, pozzolan and gravel.
Nonetheless the country has not been known to be resource-rich, which partly has led to the Government’s efforts to invest in human resource.
Rwanda natural resources:-natural resources management in rwanda
Rwanda’s mining industry is an important contributor, generating US$93 million in 2008. Minerals mined include cassiterite, wolframite, sapphires, gold, and coltan, which is used in the manufacture of electronic and communication devices such as mobile phones
Cassiterite (tin ore) has had the largest production and export volume at about 3,874 tons. The country produces about 9% of the world’s tantalum which is used in electronics manufacturing.
Rare earth elements are essential in the developing high-tech devises in communication sector, defence, alternative energy, among others.
Peat is mined in the southwestern parts of the country and it is being used for electricity generation or processed into an alternative for firewood.
There have been renewed efforts put into prospecting for petroleum and gas around Lake Kivu, one of the numerous lakes that form the East African rift valley, with geological surveys in recent years in neighbouring countries showing that the rift is endowed with huge oil reserves.
Lake Kivu is already home to methane gas deposits and exploitation is underway, with a power plant having been inaugurated there.
Natural resources management in rwanda
All mineral exports from Rwanda are traceable through the tagging system currently accepted by the downstream buyers of the minerals.
Exploration works to identify and delineate more mineral deposits are underway
A strong, investor friendly legal and policy framework has been put in place.
Rwanda evaluates the economic contribution of the Artisanal and small-scale mining sector at the national and sub-national levels, identifies specific barriers and opportunities for improved sectoral performance and outlines key recommendations for pro-poor development and broad-based economic growth.
In terms of economic contribution, the analysis covered issues such as exports and foreign exchange earnings, royalties, personal income tax, and other contributions (e.g., social security fund, value added tax).
The performance can be attributed to recovery of commodity prices in the international market as well as improved practices by miners and stakeholders in the sector.
The CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board Francis Gatare, says, “Last year was a good year for the mining sector worldwide, because of price increases in all commodities.”
To improve productivity in the sector, the process has seen the elimination of middle-men who have had little positive impact on the sector other than make a quick buck for themselves.