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Rwanda mining revenue expected to plummet

The Rwanda/DRC
Kigali, Rwanda — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 April 2009 – Rwanda’s mining revenues may fall 40% to around US$56 million (R537 million) this year – down from a record US$94 million (R902 million) in 2008 – as demand contracts and prices keep dropping on the world market.

Quoting Rwandan minister of minerals and natural resources Vincent Karega, Reuters reported from the capital that the global slowdown had throttled demand for Rwanda’s high-end minerals, such as tin and tungsten, but sales of tantalum – a rare metal used in electronics – were stable.

“In response to the slump in global commodity prices, mining companies are cutting production and watching the market carefully for signs of a price rebound,” said Karega. “On average we are talking about a drop of about 40% … but the good news in Rwanda is that nobody has stopped investing,” Karega told Reuters in an interview.

He went on to say that volatility was common in commodities markets and had not deterred serious long-term investors.

Rwanda’s political stability and comparatively better infrastructure has made it a major transit and processing point for minerals from its war-torn neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Karega said he was hopeful Rwanda’s mineral sector would boom as soon as the world economy recovered.

“The minerals produced in Rwanda are part of the rare minerals – not like steel or copper which take a lot of time to recover,” he added.

In 2008 Rwanda re-exported ore worth US$43 million (R410 million), according to a Rwandan central bank report.