Rwanda’s mining sector output grew by 34% in 2010 compared to the previous year and will continue to expand in 2011, the Minister of Forestry and Mineral Resources, Christophe Bazivamo told the New Times newspaper. Mineral exports generated $96.4 million last year, making the mining sector the country’s top revenue earner. “Our projection for 2011 is US$100m or more,” said Bazivamo.

One of the reasons the country expects a further growth is that there are about 21 new mineral-rich sites that were recently discovered. “The advantage of Rwanda is that there many types of minerals in all parts of the country and our aim is make sure that they are all exploited and we are looking at exporting quality, which is why we started tagging and sealing our minerals,” said Bazivamo. “For the government to register this success story, we had to invest over $ 200m in mineral research”.

As a long term-measure, the country also expects to attract more investments in mineral processing. Rwanda’s main mineral exports are cassiterite (tin ore) coltan, wolfram and gold. Tin ore exports have been stable or declining slightly at around 4,000 tpy gross weight in recent years, including upgraded ore from the neighbouring DR Congo.