Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) estimated that over 50 % of the minerals are lost due to poor mining techniques.
Francis Gatare the CEO of RNB, said poor techniques have a negative effect on mining productivity for both mining operators and the country’s economy.
“If not addressed, poor mining techniques could derail efforts to generate $1.5B in annual revenues from the mining sector by 2024,” he said.
Gatare said that in order to boost the mining sector’s revenue and meet the set targets, more investments in exploration and modern mining techniques are crucially required.
“By 2024 at least 65 percent of mining operators in Rwanda will have embraced modern and efficient mining techniques that maximize mining productivity based on professional research and exploration, comply with environmental protection guidelines as well as workers safety.
“With new investments and modern mining techniques, we are confident of achieving the targets despite the challenges on the international market and disruption caused by Covid-19,” he added.
He said that among the techniques include minerals separation and processing techniques that can help in increasing mining revenues.
Gatare noted that considering that outdated mining activities also have a negative impact on the environment; the mining operators should adopt sustainable mining techniques and rehabilitate the mining sites.
“This requires training mining operators and new measures on how the sector should protect the environment because most of them do not comply with environment protection guidelines,” he stated.
Venuste Twahirwa, the Executive Secretary at St.Simion Metals Company Ltd which is involved in the exploration of Coltan and Cassiterite in Rwamagana District said that while the sector needs support to recover from the Covid-19, companies should devise the sustainable way of investing modern mining technologies and filling skills gaps.
“We also need skills related to compliance in protecting the environment because we are not doing well in terms of rehabilitating the sites. We are also still using traditional and poor mining techniques which limits the revenue generation. We will gradually phase traditional techniques because it requires more investment,” he said.
Supporting the mining sector to recover from Covid-19 related slowdown is expected to preserve jobs and create new ones.
In 2019 before the Covid-19 outbreak, the mining sector employed about 71,205 workers, an increase from 47,727 workers in 2017 as stated by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR).
However, due to the slowdown in mining processing operations as a result of the pandemic, the number fell by 19 per cent to 57, 379.
As the government helps the sector to recover from Covid-19 effects, there is hope that the number of jobs in the mining and extraction sector could increase to 100,000 jobs in 2021.