Rwanda’s Tin Smelter Denies Closure Reports

Tin Smelting site located at Karuruma suburb 7km outisde Kigali.
Tin Smelting site located at Karuruma suburb 7km outisde Kigali.

Rwanda’s Tin smelting company, Phoenix Metal Ltd, has rejected media reports that it has been forced to close business due to non compliance.

Christophe Barthelemy, Director General of the company, told KT Press on that, “I want to assure you that this project is still ongoing. ”

The 35-year old smelter which was formerly state owned, was in 2002 acquired by NMC Metallurgie which renamed it Phoenix Metal ltd.

It had been projected that the smelter would make a savings of between $4 to 5 million per annum.

The smelter was built in the early 1980‟s to produce tin from concentrate coming from the ‘Société des Mines du Rwanda’ (“SOMIRWA”), reportedly ran bankrupt five years later and was acquired by a company called ALICOM at the end of 1990. It closed again in April 1994 when the genocide started.

Barthelemy  told KTPress that his company wants to lead the market by next year, “it is a project on the medium term which we hope will lead current 2016″.

To achieve the set target, Barthelemy said that It requires three prerequisites; ” production of 10 to 12 tons per day of cassiterite, quality energy without interruption and Conflict-Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI) certificate which authorizes us to sell on the international market tin ingots products.”

The company says  to acheive the adjustments requires improved patnership with government.

In May, iTSCi, a global not-for-profit agency that has been dealing with the traceability, tracking and due diligence of ‘conflict minerals’ reported that Rwanda is currently producing more minerals than any country in the great lakes region.

Rwanda has over 815 mining sites of which 442 are active producing 990 metric tons of minerals. However, the country fears that the fall in global prices of minerals will affect growth of mining sector.

Evode Imena, State Minister in Charge of Mining earlier told KT Press that the mining sector was on a path to transformation, “We have more private capital and improved mining and processing methods.”

Last year the country’s mining sector generated $203.32 million from exports despite the drop in international prices.

Government says that it wants to increase by three-fold the contribution of the sector to the economy through investment in advanced technology and attracting massive capital into the sector.




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