Rwanda and Burundi are the world’s rising hotspots for minerals due to recent stabilities not seen in this region for many years. This two countries are rich in several minerals but gold is currently their newest attraction. In the past gold mining activities in this countries were mainly carried out at the informal level majorly in local regions. This involved the mining of alluvial gold deposits by locals of these countries along river banks. At this time gold mining was not substantial enough to account for anything on their economies’. After the end of the civil wars in this countries, their governments took control of all mining activities including gold.
Gold in Rwanda
After the end of the civil war and the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the new Government has put efforts in reviving its mining industry. Gold mining was a major focus in this revival. The government took control of most of the subsurface gold mines. At this time their was not much of gold mining activities taking place in the nation due to lack of proper manpower.
With the entry of a new government in 2000, gold mining sector was prioritized. Plans were laid for the privatization of this sector to enable proper gold exploration and mining in the country.
Privatization of Gold Mining in Rwanda
The Rwandan local gold industry was immediately engaged in the privatization process starting in 2000. Two government owned mining firms, Redemi Company and Rwanda Tel were the first to be privatized. In 2008, TransAfrika Resources Ltd a privately owned firm started gold exploration in the Rwandan district, Gicumbi. This was after this firm was licensed to do the exploration.
By 2010, TransAfrika Resources Ltd had discovered that the region was rich in gold. It’s statistics indicated that there was 1.48 g of gold in each ton of ore in the 5.55 million ton available in the region. Recently, other gold exploration companies like Desert Gold Ventures Inc have set camp in this country with the prospects of profitable gold mining being high.
Gold in Burundi
Burundi unlike Rwanda, has had a good run in the gold industry. Its gold sector started serious business back in the 1990s and in the wake of the new millennium it was knocking on the international markets. In the 1990s, gold mining was on a small scale basis though it was still government controlled. At the start of the new millennium the Burundian government started taking this sector seriously. By 2001, total gold production in Burundi was 415 kg a year.
As the global gold prices peaked so did the general production by Burundi. In 2004, total gold production in this country was 3,229 kg and in 2005 it rose to 3,905 kg. According to the 2005 economic statistics, gold was valued at over 90% of all the minerals produced.
The early success of the Burundian gold industry has attracted alot of exploration and mining companies to the region. The exploration companies have invaded the nation looking for more deposits of gold within the country. Of late some potential deposits have been discovered in several regions of the country. This deposits are just awaiting validation and mining depending on their potential. This discoveries have put Burundi in a very competitive position in the world gold market.
Burundi’s north eastern Muyinga Province has a very high concentration of gold deposits. Machanga Ltd and Burundi Mining Corporation are responsible for the exploration and mining of gold in this areas.
Another company, SABU Gold Mining Company, recently joined this country’s gold industry. This company seeks a gold exploration license covering Chibitoke-Mabayi north western provinces. This exploration will cover an area measuring 840km². Early explorations have indicated high possibilities of large gold and iron ore deposits in this area.