Demand for gemstones and lithium and recovery of export markets has injected renewed optimism in the country's mining sector after months of decline volume of sales.
Factories in China, Europe and other markets that absorb Rwanda’s minerals have gone back to full operation capacity following prolonged Covid-19 disruption.
“We have seen prices for Coltan and Cassiterite beginning to slowly pick again in the past few weeks, and investors are continuing to come into the sector, there is optimism,” said Frank Butera executive secretary of the Rwanda Miners Association.
“The recovery has been driven by Chinese and European factories resuming to manufacture at full capacity after a decline in production due to the pandemic,” he added.
He said some gemstones that are mined in Rwanda are polished and cut in the country to add value have given the country's mineral competitive edge.
“We have Ngali Holdings that is now polishing, cutting gemstones and producing jewels, they started with cutting Amethyst and Tourmalines, this value addition done locally is positive development,” he added.
Some gemstones mined in Rwanda are beryl (Aquamarine), Amblygonite, Corundum (Ruby and sapphire), Amethyst, Tourmalines and different types of Quartz, and buyers have found the country’s gemstones to be of superior quality.
Most gemstone deposits are found in the Western part of the country, and more companies are registering to start mining as others start looking in the direction of processing.
During the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali last year, Ngali, a local company with tentacles in infrastructure, energy, mining among other sectors, exhibited its cut gemstones to delegates and garnered interests especially from Qatar.
“During Chogm Qatar liked our gemstones at the exhibition by Ngali and they want to buy it. Gemstones are a bit stable and have multiple use cases, this might be an advantage for the sector,” he noted.
Mr Butera said availability of gold refinery in the country has also acted as a catalyst for more investments as the refinery attracts gold from different parts.