East & Central Mining Forum
On the occasion of the next Mining Forum to be held in Rwanda, Mining & Business Magazine met with the Honourable Francis Gatare, CEO of the Rwandan Office of Mines, Oil and Gas (RMB).
Mining & Business Magazine: Tell us more about RMB’s vision and activities in Rwanda?

Honorable Francis Gatare: The RMB was established in February 2017 with a mission to transform the mining sector and do two things: One was to give Rwanda a thorough exploration strategy and carry out and obtain sufficient geo information that would help increase private investment in the mining sector. The second thing was to mobilise private investment so that we can change the profile of the mining sector, which until now has been predominantly done by small artisanal mining companies. 

M&B : Are there any particular projects in Rwanda that you are particularly excited about currently?

HFG : Yes absolutely, we have many pipeline projects, some more advanced than others, but perhaps the more exciting ones that we are carrying out now are the value addition processing projects.

 We have a tin smelter that opened its operations in 2019. We are very

excited about having the first and the only tin smelter in the Central East African region. We have another project, a refinery for tantalum which is also opening up in Rwanda. Then we have a project that is on-going namely to carry out detailed exploration of various minerals that have been identified through initial airborne surveys. 

Then we have started to make discoveries with respect to lithium that are very exciting too – We recently did extensive exploration targeting lithium and we have made impressive discoveries with unique grades, between 5% to 8%, which are quite unusual and at reasonable depths, which is also very important for mining purposes. Apart from the three Ts which are found in our region, we are also focusing on gold and gemstones.

M&B : What are you expecting from the East & Central Africa Mining Forum coming up in Rwanda in October 2019? 

HFG : Mining requires three different building blocks, namely private companies that bring capital to invest in mining, the government which provides the regulatory environment and facilitation for businesses and the third element is the regulatory framework for environmental management. We are planning to establish this platform in Rwanda that will create dialogue between these different stakeholders for a successful mining cluster and we think that Rwanda provides a compelling place for such interaction to take place. 

M&B : What is your message to prospective investors about the opportunities in Rwanda’s mining sector?

HFG : We are opening up our mining sector in a way that has not been done in the past, providing as much geological information as possible and we have recently revised our regulatory framework from policy to mining code and regulation. This is only not to make it competitive but also to provide a platform that will make it easy for companies to operate but also providing a platform that will make it easy for companies to comply with regulatory requirements and so this is a great time for them to actually engage with us. 

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