Mining in Rwanda
Mining in Rwanda
Minerals are becoming an important source of revenue for Rwanda and have shown good potential as an avenue for increased growth and economic transformation. For instance, Rwandan exports in value terms showed a strong growth of 56 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010 on account of high prices led by minerals exports. In the area of minerals exports, production in 2010 carried over to 2011 contributed to the increase in receipts. During the years 2006-2008, the mining and quarrying activities registered an exceptional performance. In 2006, the Rwandan Minerals Industry set revenue targets of $54 million and $63 million for 2007 and 2008 respectively. The targets were exceeded with revenues of $71 million in 2007 and $93 million in 2008. In 2011, the export revenue reached to $156 million and $136 million in 2012 and US$228 million in 2013. The performance of this sector is due to strengthened supervision regulation, availability of new data for investor’s interest and the support for value addition in metallic ores and quarries. The main issue with Rwanda's mineral exports is to increase the scale at which the current mineral exports are produced.
Rwanda is largely underlain by the Kibaran Orogeny rock system which consists predominantly of basement and mezoproterozoic rocks that have been intruded by different generations of granitic and mafic rocks. The Kibaran Belt extends from Northern Tanzania, through South Western Uganda, underlying almost the whole of Rwanda and Burundi, then through South Eastern DRC up to Angola. The geology of Rwanda consists of Middle (Meso) Proterozoic formations, with Tertiary age, East African Rift, volcanic cover in South Kivu, Cyangugu and in the northwestern Birunga mountains. The Meso-Proterozoic formations comprise three lithologies: low-to-medium grade metavolcanic / metasedimentary sequences, large granite batholiths (with inliers of basic and metasedimentary rocks) and large complexes of high grade metasediments to amphibolites with granite / gneisses and migmatites.
The sediments within Rwanda have been subdivided into four groups, from youngest to oldest. Those are: Rugezi, Cyohoha, Pindura, and Gikoro group. The general pattern of the Kibaran, or Meso-Proterozoic in Rwanda comprises resistant cores (high-grade units) characterized by weak deformation separated by “Intensely Deformed Zones,” noted as Shear Zones.
The first geological observations for Rwanda were made during the visit of the German Duke Mecklenburg during 1907 in the context of analysing the chain of volcanoes. The scientific expedition included a geologist and a mineralogist. Another study was conducted by a geologist called Hans Meyer at around the same time. Between 1920 and 1930, some Belgians rushed to Rwanda hoping to find the same mineral wealth as in Katanga (D.R. Congo) where a mining union known as U.M.H.K (Union Minière du Haut Katanga) had prospered for 15 years. The Bank of Brussels accepted to finance a systematic geological study to determine mineral potential in both Rwanda and Burundi. Between 1922 and 1923, the first geological mission conducted by Reverend Canon Achille Salée, a lecturer at Louvain Catholic University, and a geologist called F. Delhaye, provided necessary data for the compilation of the first geological map of Rwanda and Burundi at a scale of 1: 200,000. In 1926 special scientific mission was entrusted with A. Salée by a mining company called BECEKA for a geological study of the region. The scientific expedition included John Newport an American engineer who was committed to study mineral resources of the Eastern part of Ruanda-Urundi. Mining activities only started in 1930 with two main companies: Rwanda – Urundi Tin Mines Company (MINETAIN: Société des Mines d’Etain du Ruanda-Urundi) and Muhinga-Kigali Mining Company (SOMUKI: Société Minière de Muhinga-Kigali) in 1934. Subsequently some other mining companies were established including GEORWANDA (1945) and COREM (1948). After independence, the government of Rwanda decided to create a public mining company by grouping together all existing mining companies in order to try to strengthen the industry. On 9th of February 1973 SOMIRWA (Société Minière du Rwanda) was adopted, owned by the Government of Rwanda represented by the Minister of Finance and the two mining companies (SOMUKI and MINETAIN) – The Government held minority shares (49%). Immediately after its creation, SOMIRWA faced many problems inherited from the old mining companies from which it had taken over most of the concessions and facilities. The main problems were related in particular to outdate production equipment, the poor state of the mining infrastructure, the delay of preparatory work and a lack of spare parts. To address these problems, a five-year recovery plan (1977-1981) was introduced with expenditures in the order of one billion Rwandan francs including the construction of a tin smelter. The recovery plan established targets to increase the production of cassiterite and wolframite from 2,200 tons and 825 tons in 1976 to 2,500 tons and 1500 tons per year in 1981 respectively. However, the results of this recovery plan were disappointing. Other development plans were initiated but the donors were not convinced by the study which was presented and refused to grant the necessary funding. They demanded that the Government of Rwanda endorse the loan, but the Government refused because it had begun to distrust the management of the company. Ultimately SOMIRWA did not recover from its difficulties and on 23rd July 1985 went bankruptcy due primarily to low tin prices, heavy investment in the smelter which did not bring enough returns and poor management. After this collapse, from September 1986 to December 1988, the Government provided a caretaking of concessions and their associated properties at the cost of 100 million Rwandan francs per year. In 1988 COPIMAR (Coopérative de Promotion de l’Industrie Minière Artisanale au Rwanda) was founded on the initiative of the Government of Rwanda to re-invigorate the sector of artisanal mining that was practically extinct. In 1989 REDEMI, a public company was established to continue the work of mining and exploration till another round of privatization was possible. In January 1989, the Régie d’Exploitation et de Développement des Mines (REDEMI) launched its mining activities on all concessions of former SOMIRWA which had a total area of 104,000 ha with a capital of 97,225,000 Rwandan francs granted by the Government of Rwanda. Given this long history, there has always been a significant potential for the mining industry to have a strong positive impact on the Rwandan economy. From 1930 to 1968, mining production increased from 20% to 42.5% of all foreign exchange earnings of the country. However, between 1969 and 1973, the share of mineral revenues decreased from 42.5% to 21.6% due to a lack of investment after independence. While the creation of SOMIRWA aimed to turnaround the industry and increase the export earnings of minerals, as elaborated above, this did not happen and from 1980 until 1984 production fell leading to revenues not exceeding 10% of total export earnings. After 1994, there was a gradual recovery of revenues due to increased Government support and focus, with exports growing gradually to reach 45.7% of total exports in 2001. In 2007 OGMR (Office de la Géologie et des Mines du Rwanda) was created to take over the activities of REDEMI, after the decision to privatize the industry in 2006. The new institution was charged with service provision and regulation of the industry. In January 2011 OGMR changed name and was called “GMD (Geology and Mines Department) but the vision and the mission still stay the same.
|1930 -1931||Cassiterite was discovered in Rwinkwavu and Rutongo concessions|
|1931-1941||Cassiterite and colombotantalite were discovered in Bisesero, Gatumba, Ntunga, Mugesera and Bugesera mining concessions|
|1933||Cassiterite, colombotantalite and wolframite were found at Rutsiro|
|1940-1950||Wolframite was discovered in Gifurwe, Nyakabingo and Bugarama.|
|1968-1985||Thorium and uranium were identified in Nshiri (Nyaruguru district);
Monazite in Musebeya (Nyamagabe District); Gold in Nyungwe natural forest (the forest extends to Nyamagabe; Rusizi and Nyamasheke Districts); Wolframite was discovered in Gisenyi, Kibuye, Ruhengeri and Kigali Rural; Cassiterite and Colombo-tantalite were discovered in Muhanga, Karongi,Ngoma, Nyagatare and Rusizi;
|1978-1979||Gold in Miyove and Kinyami (Gicumbi district);
Micro-diamonds at Gatebe (Gicumbi district); Wolframite was discovered near Bugarama, Gifurwe (Burera District) and Nyakabingo (Rulindo district); Cassiterite was identified in zones close to Rutongo mine;
|1978 – 1986||Economic peat bogs were identified at Gishoma (Rusizi District), Akanyaru (Gisagara District), Rugezi (Burera District) and many other locations in the country.|
|1981||Sanders carried out long range Magnetic and Radiometric Survey of Rwanda with a flight line spacing of 500 m (East and West survey parameters).|
|2008||The Government of Rwanda contracted, New Resolutions Geophysics (NRG), a South African company, to carry out an aerial survey covering almost the whole country to acquire gravity and new magnetic data, for further understanding of the subsurface and possible associated mineral potential.|
5.0. Major commodities
Rwanda hosts a large number of minerals, the major commodities, economically mined now and in the past, being: Cassiterite (SnO2), Niobo-tantalite also called Colombo-tantalite or Coltan (Nb,Ta)2O5, Wolframite (Fe,Mn)WO4, Beryllium (Be3Al2Si6018), Spodumene (LiAlSi2O6), Amblygonite (Li,Na)AlPO4(F,OH), Monazite (Ce,La,Nd,Th)PO4 , Gold (Au) etc. They occur as primary, alluvial or elluvial deposits.
6.0. Recent main geological findings.
In 2012, a complex geological and mineral reconnaissance survey including geology, geochemistry and geophysics methods was carried out in the four Prospective Target Areas (PTAs).
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Fourteen (14) targets have been recommended for follow-up work.
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Areas with a strong Ta-potential in pegmatite have been identified. The total size of these areas is approx. 53 km2. Strong indications of polymetallic (Cu, Zn, Pb, Mn, Ni, Co, W) hydrothermal sediment-hosted stock work and/or replacement mineralization was identified. The size of the prospective areas is considerable, reaching 100 km2. Several low-grade Au-anomalies have been delineated, indicating a potential for both: Monometallic low-grade Au-occurrences in shear zones; Au as a by-product in complex polymetallic mineralizations. Several strong anomalies of rare earth elements (REE) have been identified. At least one of these anomalies is related to a primary REE mineralization. For all mineralization, a set of metallogenic models and indicators were developed. National prospectivity maps for gold and rare metal pegmatites were created by reevaluating pre-existing data (from the 1970ies). 7.0. Mining status Since its privatization six (6) years ago, the mining sector has grown from a mainly trading industry to an investment industry currently having more than 250 prospecting, exploration and mining companies (with at least 500 mine sites). 8.0. Vision and objectives of mining Given the country’s political stability, its historical success in the extractive industries and its abundant and hardworking labour force, the potential to a vibrant mineral industry in Rwanda certainly exists. The fact that potential exists is substantiated by the recent progress in privatizing the industry and by the growth in export receipts up to USD 226.2 Million 2013. Equally undeniable, much remains to be done to develop the full potential of Rwanda’s minerals industry sector. 9.0. Certified trading chain (CTC) The Certified Trading Chains (CTC) project in Rwanda sets and enforces standards for artisanal and small scale Mining and certifies that the minerals produced by the mining companies and cooperatives meet five basic principles: Traceability: origin and volumes of minerals produced and traded are fully traceable Fair working conditions: No child labour, fair remuneration and working condition Security and human rights: The mineral producer ensures security on company sites whilst respecting human rights Community development: The mineral producer consults with local communities and contributes to their social, economic and institutional development, taking into account gender sensitive aspects. Environment: The mineral producer seeks continual improvement of its environmental performance. The aim of CTC in Rwanda is certify supply chain due diligence and the conflict free of their mineral products, while also promoting sustainable development in the Rwandan mining sector. 10. Statistics 10.1. Annual exports and earning for Rwanda
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
VOLUME ( TONS ) 943 1,012 2,102 2,083 2,599 5,082 6,465 6,187 8,283 7,364 7,960 8,406 9,697 7,588 7,639 VALUE (MILLIONS OF USD ) 6.9 12.6 42.6 15.9 11.1 29.3 37.3 37 70.6 94 54.6 71 158 136.3 226.2 10.2. Annual contribution of mining to principle exports for Rwanda Year Export earnings (Millions of US$) % of total exports 1995 1.5 3.0 1996 2.3 3.7 1997 3.8 4.1 1998 4.7 7.3 1999 6.9 11.2 2000 12.6 18.2 2001 42.6 45.6 2002 15.9 23.6 2003 11.1 17.5 2004 29.3 29.9 2005 37.3 29.9 2006 37.0 24.8 2007 70.6 40.0 2008 94.0 40.0 2009 54.6 30.0 2010 71.0 30.0 2011 158.0 30.0 2012 136.3 28.3 2013 226.2 31.0 Cite error: A
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