Rwanda, is a landlocked country bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and DRC. Due to changes in government policy the nation is undergoing rapid economic growth with an increase of 8.6% in 2018, indeed Rwanda is the 2nd fastest growing economy in Africa, and is the most improved nation with respect to human development in the world.
Rwanda is one of the easiest places to do business, it is ranked 2nd in Africa for ease of doing business, indeed it takes 6 hours to register a business, there is a rapidly growing bilingual and educated workforce, and the country has free trade agreements with over 50 countries. Rwanda has the lowest debt ratio in East Africa and has a stable international credit rating.
Rwanda is home to a vast array of mineral resources, there are known mineralization of industrial, precious and battery metals, gemstones, and rare earth elements.
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The Government of Rwanda is fully committed to accelerating the development of its mineral resources sector, as it seeks to become the regional hub for mineral services such as processing and beneficiation. The Rwanda Mines, Petroleum, and Gas Board are responsible for the development and implementation of national mining policies and strategies. Indeed Rwanda has an attractive mineral resource fiscal regime, the royalties for Base Metals are 4% on Gross Value, for Gemstones the royalties are 6% on Gross Value, and this is the same for precious metals. Corporate income tax is at 30%. Rwanda has the necessary infrastructure for mineral resource projects, there is a good road network throughout the country, there is the Kigali-Dares Salaam Port a US2.5BN project to connect to Tanzania's standard gauge line(presently being built in two phases; Dares Salaam to Morogoro, and Morogoro to Makutupora), widely available water, and enhanced power availability and capacity. With respect to geology Rwanda is well known for being a world class 3-T (Tantalum, Tungsten, and Tin) mining destination. Rwanda is the world's biggest tantalum producer, 7th largest producer of Tungsten, and 12th largest Tin producer in the world. There is significant potential for gemstone and precious metal mining in Rwanda, the geological trend within the East African region show the region hosts large deposits of gold, these trends continue across Rwanda, with known deposits and a long mining history. With respect to battery metals, the country also has known lithium mineralization in the country with good potential for significant discoveries and has known world class nickel deposits in the region with Eastern Parts of Rwanda having the most potential. The East African region is known to host economic Rare Earth Elements (REE) deposits with known REE mineralization in Rwanda. Rwanda relies significantly on its mining industry as a source of foreign exchange earnings and government revenues. In 2017, the nation made US$373 million from mineral exports which was 14.9% exports of total exports. Rwanda aspires to be a middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050. The national government will use a series of 7-year National Strategies for Transformation (NST1). Rwanda is the world's largest tantalum producer. In 2018, Power Resource Group invested $12 million in land for the development of the country's first tantalum refinery.
Laws and Regulations
Mining and Quarry operations in Rwanda are regulated by Law Number 58/2018 of 13/08/2018 on Mining and Quarry Operations.
The general principles relating to mining and quarry operations are as follows:
- All rights of ownership and control of minerals or quarry products in, under or upon any land in Rwanda are vested in the State notwithstanding personal ownership of land and other properties thereof
- Mineral exploration, exploitation, processing, and trading are carried out by a person who has been granted a licence in accordance with this law
- Quarry operations are conducted only by a person who has been granted a licence in accordance with this law
- The competent authority may designate certain quarries for exclusive exploitation by the government for the purposes of carrying out projects in the public interest
- The holder of a licence issued under this law, prior to the commencement of operations, submits to the competent authority an environmental and social impact assessment approved by the relevant public organ.
Types of Mineral Titles in Rwanda - Article 8 Law 58/2018:
- Exploration Licence
- Small-Scale Mining Licence
- Medium-Scale Mining Licence
- Large-Scale Mining Licence
- Mineral Trading Licence
- Mineral Processing Licence
Sizes of Mineral Licences in Rwanda - Article 9 Law 58/2018:
The mineral licence area consist of one or more contiguous blocks, each block is reported on independently in accordance with a business plan. The maximum size for each block is as follows:
- Four hundred hectares (400 ha) for an exploration licence
- Fifty hectares (50 ha) for a small-scale mining licence
- One hundred hectares (100 ha) for a medium-scale mining licence
- Four hundred hectares (400 ha) for a large-scale mining licence
Applying for a Mineral Title - Article 10 of Law 58/2018:
An application for a mineral licence is addressed to the competent authority. Modalities and requirements for a mineral licence application are determined by regulations issued by the competent authority.
However, under Article 11, one can also obtain a mining licence through open tender where the relevant authority might call for tender to carry out exploration or exploitation of minerals in potential mining areas.
Duration of Mineral Licences - Article 14 of Law 58/2018:
- An exploration licence is valid for an initial period not exceeding four (4) years and under Article 15 may be renewed once for a period not exceeding four (4) years
- A mining licence is valid for an initial period not exceeding fifteen (15) years and under Article 15 may be renewed more than once when considered necessary but each time not more than fifteen (15) years.
There is a mineral tax (royalties) which is fixed as follows:
- 4% of the gross value for base metals and other mineral substances of the kind;
- 6% of the gross value for precious metals of gold category and other precious metals of the kind;
- 6% of the gross value for precious metals of the diamond category and other precious stones of that kind
For more information on the Laws regulating mining activities in Rwanda please download the 2018 Mining and Quarry Operations law, available in the data tab of this page.
The Government of Rwanda's Vision 2020 and Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy lay out ambitious plans to transform Rwanda into a knowledge based-economy by building a skilled workforce that is able to compete both regionally and internationally. Education is key to this transformation, and Rwanda has achieved remarkable success in increasing access to education, with primary school net enrolment currently standing at 97 percent.
Rwanda has some of the highest primary enrolment rates in Africa. As recent as in 2018, the participation rate of primary school pupils reached 98.6%, with 71% of children completing primary school. For secondary school, the enrolment rate was expectedly much lower at 72.4%. However, the proportion of female to male students in Rwanda is equal which is very positive.
Overall Rwanda has a good literacy rate of 70.50% which is better than most African nations and is witnessing a rapid growth of a bilingual and educated work force ready to work across all sectors of the economy.