Dubbed ’Thematic Working Group’ the meeting took place on 11th June 2019. It was an opportunity to engage stakeholders and development partners for adequately ensuring the implementation of the policy orientations for the development of the mining industry.
The 2017/18 thematic working group meeting held in November 2018 identified broad priority areas for consideration during the 2019/20 planning and budgeting process. The meeting discussed how these priorities would be considered in both planning and budgeting.
The thematic working group in question has been an opportunity to assess progress towards implementation of the 2018/19 policy actions in the sector.
Among the priorities of 2019/2020 fiscal year presented by the CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board( RMB), Francis Gatare include Mineral exploration works, implementation of the pilot phase of mining consolidation concept, value addition, use of modern mining technologies to increase minerals export earnings, the professionalization of mining and quarry sector and job creation. Another priority is to promote industrialization and attain a structural shift in the export base to high-value goods and services with the aim of growing exports by 17% annually.
About consolidation of mines the Chief Executive Officer said that RMB is identifying areas with same mineralization “What we are doing now is selectively picking some of the areas that have a lot of geological commonalities, similar mineralization that we can reconsolidate so that we can interest potential investors with larger capacity that can improve the investment requirements to have professional mining practices” he noted.
RMB will continue to implement a diversification strategy that goes beyond the dominance of 3Ts (Tantalum, Tungsten, and Tin). The mining regulator will increase operations in gemstones, Gold, and operations in industrial minerals. Gatare said the institution intends to have a wider base than the 3Ts.
According to Leonidas Simpenzwe, the 2nd Vice Chairperson of Rwanda Mining Association the cost for sending samples for testing outside the country is high and the delays are costly. “The cost is very high and sometimes we have to wait for several days to have results,” he said.
RMB CEO said that there is a certified national laboratory project in the pipeline that RMB is working on to support the mining sector, particularly in exploration, trading and processing services. According to the CEO, construction activities have already started.
Another target of RMB, according to the CEO, is to put together a database of geological and mining information. This will be possible thanks to the partnership RMB has with DFID, a UK Department for International Development. The implementation has already started to digitize all geological and mining information and create an online database that will be accessible for all the investors to know what is available in the country.
“We are also working on another database for industrial minerals that will capture the different types of industrial minerals in the country for construction and other services like clay, sand, granite, limestone, kaolin and many other types of minerals which are not considered as precious minerals and yet very valuable” Gatare noted adding that today the country does not have a piece of complete knowledge about the location of the minerals in question.
He revealed that an emphasis will be put into the exploration of such minerals, capturing the database and organizing the licensing and operation of industrial materials.
Oil and Gas
RMB is taking exercise for understanding all the potential uses of methane gas in Lake Kivu.
“We all know that methane gas in Rwanda has been used for several years to generate electricity. When you read in books, when you google, when you go on many other academic platforms, there are many uses of methane gas but you don’t know which one is physical which one are not and so we have undertaken an exercise to carry out a technology and economic feasibility study of other uses of methane gas besides burning it for electricity. We think that this is very important to guide us on how we allocate this finite resource so that we can get the best value out of it,” noted Gatare
According to the cabinet member, RMB will also continue to do oil and gas exploration in the Lake Kivu. This year additional sample was conducted, picking the dirt from the very bottom of Lake Kivu across the lake and tested it in laboratories and it has shown positive results; the presence of hydrocarbons. “A 2D seismic survey will also be carried to see if we can capture the traps where they may be,” added Gatare.
Held at Lemigo hotel in Kigali, the thematic working group discussion was attended by dozens of stakeholders including public institutions, private sector, and development partners. The thematic working group discussion is also an opportunity to enhance the network of mining, petroleum, and gas sector stakeholders.