KIGALI - Rwandaâ€™s mining revenues may fall by 40% to around $56m this year, down from a record $94m in 2008, as demand contracts and prices drop on the world market.
The global slowdown has throttled demand for Rwandaâ€™s high-end minerals such as tin and tungsten but sales of tantalum, a rare metal used in electronics, are stable, said Vincent Karega, the minister of minerals and natural resources.
In response to the slump in global commodity prices, mining companies are cutting production and watching the market carefully for signs of a price rebound, he said.
â€œThe good news in Rwanda is that nobody has stopped investing,â€ Karega said in an interview.
Volatility is common in commodities markets and had not deterred serious long-term investors, he said.
Rwandaâ€™s political stability and comparatively better infrastructure has made it a major transit and processing point for minerals from its war-torn neighbour DR Congo.
Karega said he was hopeful Rwandaâ€™s mineral sector would boom as soon as the world economy recovers.
â€œThe minerals produced in Rwanda are part of the rare minerals. Itâ€™s not like steel or copper which takes a lot of time to recover,â€ he said.
Rwanda mineral revenue to drop by 40%