Rwanda’s New Times newspaper reported that the country’s Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR), has set up a mineral tagging and sealing scheme, internationally recognized as the iTSCi project, which aims to curb illegal trading of “conflict minerals” – tin, tantalum and tantalite. The Director General of OGMR, Dr. Michael Biryabarema, said that the tagging project will ensure that minerals from Rwanda are verified and traceable right from their source to smelters. “Conflict minerals from Congo are also mined in Rwanda; they therefore need a clear passage throughout the world; the iTSCi project will ensure that they are tagged and traceable to make sure that they are not coming from conflict areas of Congo,” Biryabarema said.
OGMR officials, last month, visited sites to process the beginning of the iTSCi tagging scheme and according to Birayabarema, significant progress has been made with regards to its implementation, with tagging already operational at Nyakabingo Mine. “Plans are in place for its rapid expansion over the coming weeks,” Biryabarema added. A statement from OGMR said that assessments of the system were made to cover all small and widespread mining sites, as well as account for the structure of the Rwandan mineral business. According to OGMR statistics, the country’s mineral exports fetched approximately $74 million in 2010 compared to $54.6 million earned in 2009.