Rwanda’s government is currently in joint ventures with international mining corporations to boost the country’s nascent mining sector, State Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Vincent Karega, told local new media. Two examples of this are with Mauritius-based Kivu Resources and South Africa’s Umlhaba Mining.

Kivu Resources owns an 81% stake in a 35-year lease through its local subsidiary Gatumba Mining Rwanda Holdings. Karega says that the firm intends to invest at least $2.5m and build 10 small processing plants, in five years. "They have done a lot of good exploration to identify deposits in coltan, tin and wolfram," Karega said, adding that government is waiting for the outcome of their study, next year.

Umlhaba Mining is involved in the extraction of cassiterite (tin ore) in Rutongo mines, in Rulindo district. Some $5m (Rwf2.9b) is being injected to revamp Rutongo mines in which government has a 49% stake. The funds will be spent on to the acquisition of equipment, training and consultancy services.

Currently most of Rwanda’s mineral production comes from artisanal mines, but official trade figures indicate that output is rising. Cassiterite exports in the third quarter of 2009 amounted to 375 tonnes, up 14% on the same period of 2008.