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Rwanda to host virtual African Mining Forum

Miners in Ngororero, Rwanda/Photo file: TOPAFRICANEWS

International public and private stakeholders will participate in the first of a five-day virtual Africa Mining Forum today.

The conference will provide a venue for presentations and discussions on investment in small mining operations across Africa. The COVID-19 recovery of mining markets is expected to be an important topic at this event.

Rwanda is seeking to benefit from the forum. Due to the pandemic, Rwanda’s mining sector has suffered from a combination of lockdowns, reduced airline timetables and a global drop in mineral prices. Revenue from Rwanda’s three main mineral exports—tin, tungsten and tantalum—fell by 30.9% earlier this year as demand contracted.

Rwanda plans to revive its mining industry by offering incentives to junior mining companies at the Forum. Because mineral exploration is significantly underfunded, Rwanda will allow mining companies to write-off financial losses associated with exploration costs for 10 years on annual tax return submissions. While Rwanda’s scheme has already attracted $20 million from the UK-based mining company Techmet, it is not yet clear if the incentives will be enough to attract increased investment. Mineral exploration is a very risky venture and lacks the quick return on investments that many mining companies prefer.

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