Current challenges facing countries of the Central African region including Rwanda regarding the traceability of minerals, dominated major Rwandan newspaper headlines on Wednesday.The headlines echoed recommendations from the East and Central Africa Mining Forum which took place in Kigali earlier this week.
The traceability consists mainly of confirming the origin of minerals, accurate documentation tracking their movement through the supply chain, and identification of the actors handling them.
In an article, entitled “Rwanda protests mineral traceability scheme”, The English daily ‘The New Times’ wrote that Rwanda has said that the ITSCI programme, an international scheme designed to regulate minerals mined from the Central African region, is expensive, unnecessary and prohibitive for miners.
According to the newspaper, Rwanda is subject to what is known as Section 1502 of the US Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which covers tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, all of which are produced in large quantities in the country.
The newspaper said that to meet the traceability and due diligence requirements, Rwanda implements ITSCI, which works on the ground via managers deployed at mining concessions that seal, tag and record bags of minerals produced to efficiently monitor and contain potential illegal dealings.
The cost of such activity is somewhere between $130 per tonne and $180 per tonne depending on the type of mineral produced, it said.
In another article, ‘The Chronicles’ another Independent English daily reported that Rwanda has generated at least $350m from minerals in 2018, yet nearly all the mining companies are small operations with no global recognition.
For years, since Rwanda got involved in the wars in DR Congo, according to the newspaper, it stands accused of controlling mining sites, then smuggling the minerals as its own.
Despite another mechanism that puts tags on minerals to show their original mine, that has done little to change global public perception on Rwanda.
The paper concluded that Rwanda could to use this regional forum to mobilise financing for local mining industry since the local banking industry is said to be adamant to put their money in the sector due to the high risk involved.
Regarding this challenge, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), Francis Gatare, said that mineral research is so expansive it requires a lot of money, that is why it is not easy to do a research based on bank loan, because there is more risks.
In addition, the senior Rwandan official explained that it is one of the many reasons Rwanda is trying as a country to attract other competing instruments.
‘The Chronicles’ reported that around 2009 and 2010, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) placed restrictions on mineral exporters from the region that surround Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Despite another mechanism that puts tags on minerals to show their original mine, that has done little to change global public perception on Rwanda, the newspaper said.