1. Wolfram Mining Processing Ltd
- The Managing Team of the company
Wolfram Mining Processing Ltd which is a among other mining companies in Rwanda started working on 22nd Dec 2006. Two mining sites were about to be explored. The first one was Gifurwe in 2006 and two years later, in 2008 Rwinkwavu .
The company started activities in Rwinkwavu with 28 employees and in Gifurwe with 43 employees besides 8 working in finance and administration.
Production is increasing
In Rwanda mining industry, from 2003 to 2007, national wolframite production increased to 2,988 t from a revised 109 t.
That increase was mainly attributed to new producers, such as Eurotrade International produced wolframite at Gifurwe and Nyakabingo, Africa Primary Tungsten SARL, Eurotrade International S.A., Pyramid International, Rwanda Allied Partners, and Wolfram Bergbau- und Hütten GmbH Nfg.
However, the Department of Geology and Mines at the Ministry of Natural Resources is still putting other minerals ahead of the gold prospect.
“Gold is for the future and not now; we have a lot of cassiterite, coltan and wolframite and we are still concentrating on these because they bring in tangible revenues,” said Francis Kayumba, the Director of Regulations and Inspection in the department.
The total value of mineral exports in 2011 was $158.8 million making it the country’s second foreign exchange earner after tourism.
“Before we concentrate on gold, it is best that we realize the full potential of the minerals that are in abundance to ensure that more revenues come in to develop the country.”
The Director of Research at the Geology and Mines Department, Hildebrand Kanzira, said that there are potentially 10 gold rich sites in Rwanda, which, when tapped, will significantly push the mining sector forward.
However, artisanal miners and residents of Karongi and Gicumbi districts reportedly turn up with ounces of the precious metal once in a while.
But still, cassetirite remains Rwanda’s number one mineral export, with 6.9 million tonnes exported in 2011, fetching US$96.8 million.
2. Rwanda mining sector
- Rwandan mining concessions
It is believed that most areas of the country have the mineral in abundance as proven by its discovery way back during the colonial period. It is also exploited in 26 of the 30 districts of Rwanda with 185 exploration permits already operational.
The mineral sector is largely dominated by foreign companies such as Gatumba Mining Concession, from South Africa, TransAfrika, Bay View group from US, and Rwanda minerals mining from Germany.
Because of the industry’s steady and dynamic growth, the government is still trying to attract more investors to exploit other untapped minerals.
Rwanda has deposits of wolfram, cassiterite, colombo-tantalite (coltan), gold and sapphires. About 50,000 Rwandans were employed in
the mining sector in 2007. Rwanda’s exports of cassiterite (tin
ore), columbite-tantalite, and wolframite (tungsten ore)
For instance, Rwandan tantalum consisted of approximately 5% of the global market in 2010, while tungsten from the country accounted for approximately 4% of the world market. It consisted of 30% of Rwandan total exports in 2010 as well, totaling approximately US$60 million.
Cassiterite production peaked at 1,000 tonnes in 1990, but was under 700 tonnes in 2000. Recorded coltan production has soared from 147 tonnes in 1999 to 1,300 tonnes in 2001, and coltan was the country’s biggest single export earner in 2001.
It has been under-acknowledged to date that at least part of the increase in production is because of new mines opening up in Rwanda.
It is visible that mining is still a virgin sector in Rwanda and the Government through its policies of promoting business in private sector is trying to boost that sector and the private sector is being involved in the development of the country.
By 2010, the aim of Rwanda was to increase annual mineral export revenues to $200 million by 2010 by attracting higher investment, modernizing mining methods and expanding exploration. As a long term-measure, the country also expects to attract more investments in mineral processing.
Structure of the Mineral Industry in Rwanda
The mining industry in Rwanda began in 1930s. Tin dioxide, wolfram, coltan and gold were the only mineral available.
The state-owned Régie d’Exploitation et de Développement
des Mines (REDEMI) produced cassiterite (tin ore), columbite-tantalite, and wolframite (tungsten ore); privately owned companies and artisanal miners also produced these mineral commodities. In 2006, the Government privatized 20 of REDEMI’s concessions. The privately owned Cimenterie du Rwanda (Cimerwa) was the country’s only cement producer.