KIGALI – Rwanda will issue 50 new licences to mine metals including gold, tin and tantalum this year that may help boost investment in the East African nation by a fifth, the Rwanda Development Board said.
The state-run board expects to attract $2-billion of investment in 2018, compared with $1.67-billion last year, CEO Clare Akamanzi said in an interview in the capital, Kigali. It’s also seeking $200-million for a new innovation center in the city, and is planning a project known as Kivu Belt to boost tourism, she said.
“We are expecting 50 new licenses this year in different areas, most especially in tantalum, coltan, tin and wolfram, and we’re also expecting concessions in gold,” Akamanzi said. The agency plans to advertise the new permits “very soon,” she said.
Rwanda is expanding its mining industry as it seeks to accelerate growth to 7% this year from about 6% in 2017, President Paul Kagame said in an interview in November. The country is the world’s second-biggest producer of tantalum, a mineral extracted from coltan, an ore, that’s used to make components in smartphones, and Africa’s third-largest tin miner, according to the US Geological Survey.
The government also expects to draw investment for the Bugesera International Airport, the first phase of which is being built in the south of the country by Mota-Engil SGPS SA of Portugal, Akamanzi said. The project will cost $700-million and the first phase, including a 1.7-million-passenger terminal, is expected to be completed by December 2019, she said.
Mota-Engil and state-owned Aviation Travel & Logistics Co. are in talks with other potential investors “who can come in and take both equity and debt to complement the investment,” Akamanzi said. “We expect by April 2018 the government and Mota-Engil will have reached a financial close.”