Rwanda is shifting gears from extraction to beneficiation in hopes of maximizing mineral its revenue. By 2024, the country plans to earn $1.5 billion from mineral exports.
Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills is now also the land of two mineral refineries: Aldango and LuNa Smelter. Aldango, Rwanda's first gold refinery, located in the Kigali Special Economic Zone started operations in March and Rwanda's New Times publication reports that the refinery has a capacity to refine 6 tonnes of gold a month. Officials say this will be expanded with rising demand.
Rwanda's goal is to earn at least $1.5 billion in revenues from mineral exports. The importance of beneficiation in this regard cannot be overemphasised enough. As ENSafrica director in the mining business area, Otsile Matlou told the Mail and Guardian in 2014, "The concept is not just a mining issue, but also a socio-economic one: it is no longer adequate for mine producing countries to mine and export raw materials. The trend is not to mine the mineral, concentrate it, then make mineral products with it, rather than mine it and ship it elsewhere for others to make something with it, only to then sell it back to where it originated. Beneficiation needs to happen."
Rwanda's Aldango was born of a joint venture between Hilly Metals Company, and Aldabra. Aldango's Chairperson, Jean de Dieu Mutunzi, told the New Times, “We have built an advanced factory with enough capacity to process large quantities of gold from all around Africa.” He added that the refinery has the same standards as Europe and Asia.
Pointing out that Africa loses a lot of revenue by exporting raw resources, Rwanda's Minister of Trade and Industry said, "This is also to showcase that we can add value to raw materials and investments that have been made."
Image Credit: The New Times - Rwanda
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