Brian Menell, a renowned South African mining, oil and gas and banking businessman, among other industries, reported that in the next two years, TechMet, a UK-based mining firm, will deploy more resources worth $20 million (approximately Rwf19.5 billion) into its Rwanda operations.
He confirmed this during a virtual press conference ahead of the Africa Mining Forum.
Tinco, a local company which operates tin and tungsten mining concessions in Rutongo and Nyakabingo in the Rulindo District, is owned by his company.
Menell, who is also TechMet’s CEO.
“We do have a plan as TechMet in Rwanda to invest an excess of $20 million in the next two and half years in the expansion of tin and tungsten mines that are already within our portfolio with Tinco,” Menell said.
The US government recently announced a $25 million investment in TechMet, whose use will primarily focus on the expansion of nickel and cobalt projects in Brazil.
“That funding is not primarily focused on our project in Rwanda, however, it will free up other resources to deploy in Rwanda,” he noted during a press briefing ahead of the Africa Mining Forum, which kicks off next week.
Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) welcomed the development.
“TechMet’s announcement today is very welcome news indeed. I am looking forward to them quickly concluding their new agreements with RDB (Rwanda Development Board), so that we can begin working with them to redevelop Rutongo Mines, Nyakabingo, and other new joint initiatives,” Francis Gatare, the Board’s Chief Executive Director, said.
With regard to the area of very interesting and potentially large lithium potential, Menell highlighted his firm will be “deploying large significant capital in Tinco in the development of those projects in the coming years.”
Tinco is currently under negotiation with the government to overhaul its operations in Rwanda and secure a purchase share agreement of key industrial mining blocks in the Northern Province.
The investor and government have had a four-year stalemate over the agreement, which has seen them lose out on more than 2,000 tonnes in the last four years between 2016 and to date.
“We missed out on up to 2000t of production looking at the original plan,” Luke Rogers, the representative of TechMet in Rwanda, the holding company of Tinco, told The New Times in an exclusive interview recently.
However, that is likely to change if negotiations go as planned, perhaps before the end of this year.