Metal Processing Association (MPA), part of the Kivu Resources group, plans to expand its tin mine production and re-open its smelter in Rwanda. MPA has a 25 year 51%:49% joint-venture agreement with the Rwandan government to develop the 28,000 hectare Gatumba mining concession in the west of the country, where a new exploration drilling programme has just started. Gatumba Mining Concessions hopes to increase tin production to 100 – 200 tonnes a month from 5 tpm at present.

"We spent on our exploration campaign in excess of $2.5 million last year in Rwanda and we anticipate a similar amount into exploration this year," MPA chairman, Alan Smith, told Reuters in an interview last week. Smith said if the drilling "panned out", they would invest a further $15-20 million into the Gatumba site later this year.

MPA is in discussions with the government to reopen a tin smelting plant in Gisenyi which the company was forced to close in 2006 because of expensive and unreliable electricity supply. This month, Rwanda will turn on a 20 MW heavy oil power plant to replace expensive diesel generators that have kept the cost of power at a regional high of $0.24 per Kwh.