Rwanda tops the region in meeting mining standards

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Rwanda tops the region in

Contrary to what was said by UN experts that Rwanda gets minerals from the neighboring DRC, Foreign investors in mining sector say Rwanda has large reserves of minerals. On the Rwandan side, the country is not only concerned with  huge deposit of  minerals but also the mining sector is becoming crucial to the overall national development as the required standards to harmonize the sector are being met.

The number of investors in the mining sector is significantly increasing in Rwanda due to the mechanisms taken to improve the sector. Now the sector is growing and that has a very positive impact to the development of the country officials say.

Rwanda Mining Investment Forum RMIF composed by twelve foreign member companies says to invest in mining sector in Rwanda is sustainable as Rwanda has a very large mineral reserves.

When he was making his presentation in the all Mining sector stakeholders in Kigali, Salem said: “Rwanda has very important mineral reserves. We hear rumors suggesting minerals exported from Rwanda come from outside especially in DRC. This is nonsense! Not only Rwanda has minerals but also the quality is highly appreciated on the international market”.

“I can assure you that Tantalite for example which is exported from Rwanda is well demanded because of its good quality compared to the one from DRC”. Salem noted.

RMIF is composed by foreign investors dedicated to improve the mining sector. Mahmoud Salem, the RMIF Chairman, has expressed his wish to work together with Rwandan government institutions in order to have clear and consolidated vision for the Rwanda’s mining sector and for the country as well.

Mahmoud Salem has expressed his appreciation of the strong support from the government which allows them to easily achieve a common understanding towards solving some of the problems they face.

Meeting standards is compulsory 

Government had put in place measures to curb illegal mining and ensure prosecution of culprits. The government has also urged mining companies to adhere to local and international standards in ensuring the safety of the employees as well as protection of the environment.

All these requirements are boosted by the mineral tagging, a step that Rwanda initiated before the international community has asked all the countries to proceed in tagging all the minerals.

Earlier this year, Rwanda was declared ‘more advanced than all its neighbors in the implementation of mining standards’ by the biennial International Tin Conference held in South Africa in April.

“Due to the complexity of the mineral tagging exercise, Rwanda Natural Resource Authority is putting in place a capacity building program so as to achieve the highest efficiency and avoid any abuse in the mining system.” A statement from the meeting in South Africa reads. 

Key figures

A survey by PACT, an international NGO, indicates that Rwanda hosts 24,287 artisanal miners with a total of 120,000 citizens directly depending on mining activities.

Export earnings from minerals in 2011 rose to US$164 million surpassing the previous year’s total earnings of US$ 96.4 million.

Currently there are at least 130 companies and cooperatives in the sector and more than 500 mine sites across Rwanda.

Even if Mineral exports have continued to grow, most of the production sites still produce far below capacity according to the Ministry of trade and industry.


Nevertheless, there are still challenges that need to be addressed in order to make the mining sector more sustainable and successful. This is a list of challenges that RMIF and Rwanda Mining Association have shown.


–          There is a Room for Improvement in the Implementation of the Tagging System

–          High Turnover of the Tagging Supervisors

–          Organizing Training Programs for the Tagging Supervisors

–          Closer Control of the Tags Distribution System

Mining Licenses:

–          Delay in getting the Licenses

–          Short term License

–          The need for Longer term License to invite fresh investment

Regular meetings gathering all the mining sector companies with government institutions that work together directly or indirectly with the mining sector are due to address all those challenges and make all the standards, requirements and laws regarding the mining sector met.




About the author

Olive Ndaka is the Junior Editor for RwandaEye. An investor and young entrepreneur, she is a quick learner and has contributed many articles for RwandaEye in Kinyarwanda.

More posts by | Visit the site of Ndaka



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