Rwanda’s cabinet has approved 29 new licenses for various mineral and quarry sites aimed at expanding the country’s mining potential.
State Minister in charge of mining told KT Press, “29 licenses were approved. They include; 1 small-scale mining license; 17 mineral exploration licenses; 11 quarrying licenses.”
The new licences will be revealed later. The country’s mining sector is rapidly growing and is a major contributor to export revenues.
Last year, the sector generated $203.32 million from exports. The ministry announced in August that rare precious stones have been discovered and mining activities should be underway soon.
The newly approved licenses will boost the existing 815 mining sites which in May this year produced 840 metric tons of minerals. This production alone pushed Rwanda to the top as the largest producer of minerals in the Great Lakes Region.
Between 2013 and December 2014, Rwanda exported 2,466,025kgs of tantalum which accounted for 28% of total 8,807,232Kg of tantalum produced globally.
Rwanda Development Board (RDB) earlier told KT Press that government has more than 22 new projects mainly in exploration worth $110.5million in investment commitments since 2011.
Meanwhile, in July 2014, six mining companies signed agreements with Rwanda and made commitments worth Rwf6.5 billion of investment for the next five years and targeting production of 3,300 tones.
Minister Imena said the mining sector targets to generate $400 million from mineral exports by 2017 and creating over 600,000 jobs.
Rwanda strictly adheres to Minerals Traceability Program where all minerals mined in the country are tagged from the mine-sites until they are ready to be exported.
The key minerals currently being mined and traded in Rwanda comprise mainly of cassiterite, wolframite, Colombo-tantalite and gold. Rwanda’s mining sector provides four kinds of licenses including; Prospecting license (for 2 years, non renewable), Research license (for 4 years, renewable once), Mining/exploitation license (for 5 years, renewable if the deposit lasts) and Concession license (for 30 years, renewable if the deposit is still economic).
In order to acquire a license, one must first register a company in Rwanda; provide a digital map of area applied for, business and action plans and an application letter.