Rwanda banks on processing plants to boost mining revenues

Investors in mining are working with the government to set up processing plants closer to the mines so as to fetch more income from the lucrative business.

The collaboration will also see a reduction of losses caused by poor mining techniques. 

According to officials, Rwanda loses 50 per cent of its potential revenues due to poor mining practices. 

One of the new big investments to reduce such losses is the processing plant being constructed in Rutsiro District by Eastinco Ltd, a subsidiary of UK’s Eastinco Mining and Exploration. 

The company has concluded a joint- venture and operating agreement with a mining co-operative, Kuaka Co-operative, for mechanizing, modernizing mining in the Districts.

The agreement also involves ensuring workers’ safety and conducting off-take of Coltan ore in Rutsiro District.

Daniel Hogan, the Managing Director Eastinco Ltd, told The New Times that they have so far spent $1.4 million (over Rwf1.3 billion) on a professional wash plant capable of processing 25 metric tonnes of minerals every hour.

“We have invested in earth moving equipment and a professional wash plant that includes washing, crushing separation, and shaking techniques. Our target is to capture more than 85% of the minerals we process which we feel is a great improvement on artisanal mining,” he said.

Hogan added that they have two more mining investments in Rwanda including one in partnership with the Mining Board on over 5,500 hectares and another in exploration.

The joint venture agreement is for exploring for tin (Cassiterite), tungsten (Wolframite) and tantalum (coltan) mineral resources on a 600-hectare exploration site near Huye District.

More investments expected

Donat Nsengumuremyi, the Director of Mineral Extraction and Processing Unit at Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), told The New Times that they expect more foreign and domestic investors to join the industry.

“We are also consolidating small mining firms so that they get the financing for exploration and modern equipment;” he noted.

The plan is to zone mining sites and set up processing plants in each zone.

“Each small processing plant can cost around $80,000. We are about to set up one in Gakenke district and equipment has been procured,” he disclosed. “We will then conduct studies for other zones and demonstration plants while working on the electricity supply.”

Rwanda is also setting up a manufacturing factory in the special economic zone to produce mining equipment.

Facilitated by the government, Rwanda Engineering, and Manufacturing Corporation (REMCO) was established in 2018 to manufacture machinery and parts in agriculture mechanization, mining, water fittings, hospital equipment, construction, and energy sectors.

Source: TNT