Miners have welcomed a marketing deal signed with US firm AVX Corporation, which will facilitate direct sales to shorten the long minerals supply chain.
With the deal, minerals from Rwanda, especially coltan, will directly be exported to the US based AVX Corporation.
The deal with the world’s biggest consumer of Coltan and largest manufacturer of tantalum components for electronics industry, was inked Thursday in Muhanga District, where government representatives and AVX Corporation officials visited a newly-introduced scheme of due diligence for minerals supply chain.
Dr Hilaire Habyarimana, the mining manager of SOREMI Intego mining company that extracts the white tantalum in Nyarusange Sector, Muhanga, said the deal presents new hope among miners despite recurrent shortfalls in mineral prices on the global market.
“It is a revival for us to work with the world’s biggest buyer of coltan. This encourages us as some had despaired due to falling prices. But this partnership encourages us to improve on investment since it accords us access to a stable market. It requires us to improve on our mining techniques and embrace technologies so that we can produce as much quantity as we can,” he said.
“Most of the mines are soft rock tunnels at this. What we are planning to do with the long term engagement is to move them to semi mechanised and later to mechanised mines. This is not a good time for the market but in the long-term; what we are all looking for is stability. We will discuss how it can benefit both of us without middlemen to reduce speculation,” William A Millaman, the director of corporate quality at AVX said.
Evode Imena, the state minister for mining, said the partnership attests to the presence of minerals in the country, which he said could be a solution to allegations that have always linked Rwandan minerals to conflicts.
“This is a very good development that will benefit not only AVX but also our miners because when you have middlemen they take some portion of the benefit. But now when it is between you, the producer, and the consumer, you both benefit,” Imena said.
“Experts out there have always claimed that white coltan cannot be found in Rwanda, but this deal is a testimony (to the contrary) since the firm will attest to where it comes from.”
AVX Corporation is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of electronic components and interconnect solutions with multiple manufacturing and warehouse facilities located around the world.
It offers a broad range of devices, including capacitors, resistors, filters, couplers, timing and circuit protection devices and connectors.
Mineral contribution to GDP is projected to increase from 1.2 percent to 5.27 per cent by 2017/18.
Coltan is used primarily for the production of tantalum capacitors, used in many electronic devices.
Mining is the second largest export in the Rwandan economy. In 2014, the sector generated about $210.6 million of foreign exchange, according to information from Rwanda Development Board.
All mineral exports from Rwanda are traceable through the tagging system currently accepted by the downstream buyers of the minerals.