An airplane carrying a group of forty seven (47) Chinese geologists touched down at Kigali international airport on Friday 6. The experts are coming to carry an assessment of Rwanda’s minerals.
This serves as first batch of geologists and is expected to map out mineral exploration for the period of three years with the support of Chinese mineral assessment satellites based in China.
The assessment will focus on available types of minerals, quality and quantity.
In other words, the exercise will take the experts to mountains, rivers and water streams in areas that Rwanda had already surveyed and found that they could be rich in minerals from Gicumbi, Karongi, Nyamagabe, Rusizi, Nyamasheke and Rulindo districts.
The geologists come in Rwanda, after conducting several other mineral assessments in Tanzania, Zambia, Madagascar, among others.
“We are happy that Rwanda will use most experienced geologists in the world. They have been to many countries in Africa. We expect them to deliver important information to the government of Rwanda,” Henry Rao Hongwei, Chinese ambassador to Rwanda said.
The assessment follows Rwanda and China memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share mining technology, skills and experience through trainings, exploration and mineral assessment. The MOU was signed in July last year.
“Tonight we are happy to witness the fruits of the signed agreement to be put into practice. Rwanda is a county with minerals. It is our pleasure if Rwanda gains from the experienced people in mining. We hope this will contribute to the economic development of the country,” Hongwei said.
Available figures indicate that, Rwanda’s mineral export revenues in 2017 stood at $370 million compared to $350 million last year.
According to Francis Gatare Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas, “ The slight decrease in export revenues for minerals last year was caused by the lower prices on the International market due to mass production of minerals by pioneer countries in the mining sector.”
Gatare further said; “These experts will be working with our local geologists. This means that they will leave skills to our people. We shall learn from their technology, skills and gain experience. This will directly contribute to our economic development.”
“Local geologists will be moving with these experts to make sure that they learn mineral discovery skills, effective assessment, mining technology and processing.”
The second batch of geologists will come next year, making a total of 118 geologists to have the whole mineral areas assessed in the period of three years.
Today, about forty local geologists have been trained in China in crucial mining skills, processing and mineral assessment.
So far, Rwanda has built a gold refinery plant worth $5Billion. Located in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the capital Kigali, ‘ALDANGO’ gold refinery plant has the capacity to processes about 200 Kilograms of gold daily.
The six month old ‘ALDANGO’ targets local and foreign gold suppliers across the world.
Dr Liu Xiao Yang, coordinator of the first batch of Chinese geologists said, “Like other African countries where we have been, Rwanda is making a transition from small scale mining to large scale. This means the country will need enough technology, skills and experienced geologists through cooperating with world best miners.”
He further said; “We are all experienced geologists; we have worked with many famous mining companies in the world. We hope to deliver to the country’s expectations.”