Gemstone mining in Rwanda doesn’t boast a long history. However, records from the colonial period acknowledge the presence of gemstones in the country. It wasn’t until 2016 and 2017 that mining and processing regulations were established, marking a pivotal moment for the industry.
To facilitate this emerging sector, a specialized laboratory has been established for the testing of minerals. Rwanda currently extracts various gem types, including Amethyst, Sapphire, Emerald, and more, primarily in district such as Nyamasheke, Rusizi, Ngororero, Rutsiro, Ruhango, and Muhanga. The ultimate goal is to expand these operations to other parts of the country through strategic partnerships with investors.
In the third quarter of 2023, RMB reported that Rwanda’s revenues from minerals amounted to a substantial $241 million, equivalent to over Rwf295 billion.
The RMB is actively promoting awareness of these precious stones in Rwanda. Plans include establishing retail outlets selling gemstone products, making them available in hotels and airports, and showcasing them at various expos. Ambitious infrastructure plans are also underway to position Rwanda as a global hub for the mining and sale of gemstones.
In an exclusive interview with IGIHE, the CEO of RMB, Amb Yamina Karitanyi, outlined the vision to make Rwanda a central destination for gemstone-related activities. The plan involves attracting businesspeople from across Africa to elevate the value of gemstones and turn Rwanda into a hotspot for tourists seeking to purchase jewelry crafted from locally sourced gemstones.
Ngali Mining factory stands out as a notable player in this sector, renowned for selling precious stones in Rwanda. The factory offers a range of jewelry items such as rings, necklaces, and earrings.
The costs vary, starting from Rwf35,000 and reaching up to Rwf30 million. Ngali Mining Ltd aims to cater to both local and foreign markets, recognizing that the interest in jewelry predominantly lies with foreign customers.
To encourage local interest, Ngali Mining Jewelry has implemented cost-reduction strategies, making Rwandan precious stone jewelry more accessible to the domestic market.