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Rwanda expects increased investment in mining

A tantalum mine
in Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 December 2010 – The government of Rwanda expects increased investment in its mining and minerals industry, following the suspension of mining in the eastern parts of the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).     
“We expect investors who had wanted to mine and trade minerals from the DRC to now do so in Rwanda because of the ban,” said Rwanda minister for forestry and mining Christophe Bazivamo in an interview here.

On 9 September DRC president Joseph Kabila suspended most mining in the North Kivu, South Kivu and Maniema provinces, in an effort to wrest control of the industry from what he described as “mafia groups.” The suspension will continue while the DRCarmy tries to stabilise the area around Bisie, the region’s biggest tin-ore mine, mines minister Martin Kabwelulu said.

“We will determine the impact of the ban on our exports in January,” said Bazivamo. “But we know that investors can get the minerals they were getting from the DRC here in Rwanda.”

“Since the Congolese ban, mining companies in Rwanda have started boosting production, while the number of inquiries from miners interested in starting operations has increased,” Bazivamo said. He declined to comment further.

Rwanda produces about 5% of the world’s tantalum, used in electronics, and about 4% of global tungsten production, according to the latest available information on the website of the U.S. Geological Survey. The central African nation also produces cassiterite, or tin ore.

Rwanda’s government is investing in geological data in an effort to attract more investment into the country, Michael Biryabarema, director of the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority, said.

Minerals currently account for about 30% of Rwanda’s exports, and according to the Rwanda Development Board exports of minerals may increase to US$60 million this year, from US$54.6 million in 2009.