An ongoing airborne geophysics survey in Rwanda has found deposits of several new minerals in different parts of Rwanda, which include rare earth elements, gemstones, cobalt, iron and lithium according to the New Times.
The discovery comes after the government of the East African nation established Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, a statutory body to oversee and coordinate all the exploration and mining activities in the county.
“There are new finds, including resources that we previously had no idea existed in Rwanda, while in other cases we found extensions of existing mineral deposits like gold…the next steps will include to conduct further surveys and analyses to determine the exact components and quantities of the deposits.” said Dr Emmanuel Munyangabe, the Chief Operations Officer of the new body appointed by the Cabinet on February 3.
The survey which started in October 2016 and ends this month, reveals that Rwanda has more deposits of traditional minerals like gold than previously thought.
“The newly established board will build on what has been ongoing under the previous framework, in the areas of exploration, licensing, inspection and regulation,” said Dr. Munyangabe
He added “The whole idea is to optimize the resources that we’ve always known to have as a country and new finds…. We believe we will have completed the geophysical, geological and geochemical analyses by July this year and that will give us a clear picture of the mining and underground resources that Rwanda has.”
Munyangabe said the Government plans to step up efforts to process its minerals locally, with a casseterite-processing plant set to open in Karuruma, Gasabo District in central Rwanda, this year.
Rwanda generated $160 million from the mineral sector in 2016.