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Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) unveiled new strategies in the mining sector to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

RMB is government of Rwanda body in charge of fast-tracking the realization of the national vision for the mining, petroleum and gas sector.

Rwanda, one of the biggest producers of 3Ts worldwide, targets to become a mineral hub focusing on processing and trading. The east African country established its first ever gold refinery last year, tin smelter and soon tantalum smelter.

The gold refinery has capacity to process gold from around the continent, boosting efforts to ensure that Africa adds value to its minerals before exporting them.

A set of strategies unveiled on Tuesday June 9 will impact exports and economic growth. The strategies will help companies to resume full operations, allowing the sector to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want to facilitate companies in mining and quarry to resume 100% operations in the next two years by professionalizing the sector and mobilizing new investments” says Francis Gatare, the CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board.

What are the strategies (quick wins)?

  • Medium Term Strategy

1. Boost production: Facilitating mining companies to quickly resume 100% operations with enhanced Healthy and safety measures of employees and expedite licensing new applications;

2. Raise productivity through scaled up Investments: reorganizing small scale mining operators, consolidating many of them into collective investment groups and licensing their new collective companies. They will be supported with international investment mobilization.

3. Regional Mineral hub for processing and trading: Formalize regional trade in minerals to support local Smelters, Refineries & all value addition and export business. This will also add value to jobs creation and raise export revenues.

4. Local Manufacturing of mining equipment & Explosives:  In a bid to professionalize small scale mining, RMB is facilitating Rwanda Engineering and Manufacturing Corporation (REMCO) and the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centres (IPRCs) colleges to establish partnership with international Manufactures of equipment and explosives, to make them locally. 

5. Expedite resumption of Rutongo Mines operations , Government is working with all concerned parties to expedite operations  of Rutongo Mines, one of the first mining blocks for tin in Rwanda, to quickly sort out issues linked to the pending long term shareholder agreement. It is expected that Rutongo will resume full operations by the end of June.

6. Define Mining & Mineral Exploration as priority in Investment Code, and establish a Mineral Exploration Support Fund. The aim is to attract international mineral exploration companies, and de-risk exploration investments, key to achieve industrial scale mining operations.

7. Diversification, focusing on Gold, Gemstones, & Strategic Minerals like Rare Earth Element, Lithium, Beryllium, etc. which have already proven to have potential.

8. Enhanced professionalization of mining practices, mindful of the Environment, Health & Safety, as well as long term sustainability.

Last week, Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) announced the guidelines to contain the spread of COVID-19 amongst employees in the mining sector and any other person they may contact.

The guidelines outline adequate tunnel ventilation, de-densification, screening and testing mechanisms, require miners put in place tracing program, allow workers to work in shifts and provide relevant PPE among others.

Read more about COVID-19

The guidelines were developed following consultations with stakeholders and in line with existing COVID-19 measures as set by the government of Rwanda.