THE NEW TIMES
06. August 2013
by Ivan R. MUGISHA
Tanzanite miner at the Mererani mine in northern Tanzania. The mineral audit agency said between 60 and 75 per cent of all tanzanite production is undocumented. Photo/FILE AFP
The government of Rwanda has contacted their counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the tonnes of smuggled minerals from the neighbouring country.
The minerals which, according to the State Minister in charge of Mining, Evode Imena, constituted 8.4 metric tonnes of wolfram, tin and coltan, were seized in June as they were being smuggled into the country from DRC.
“We have communicated to the government of DRC. Rwanda Revenue Authority delivered a letter to the customs of DRC and we are waiting for their response,” Imena, said in an interview last week, adding that the response will determine when the minerals will be handed back.
The interception of the minerals was first announced last month by Louise Mushikiwabo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, during her address to the UN Security Council in a debate on the security situation in the Great Lakes Region. (Read article)
The value of the minerals is not known. “Once they (Congolese) are ready, we shall inform you of when we shall hand over the minerals,” Imena added. According to the state minister, the minerals constitute the three so-called “conflict minerals” of tin, wolfram and coltan and are currently stored at the Revenue Protection Department in Rusizi District.
The Deputy Commissioner General of RRA, Richard Tusabe, said that the smuggled minerals were seized by a Rwandan surveillance team along the DRC border, although the smugglers were not captured. “They abandoned the minerals and ran away. We do not have any details on who they are,” Tusabe said, adding that: “We will sustain surveillance to stop smugglers.”
In November 2011, Rwanda handed 82 tonnes of smuggled tin, coltan and wolfram back to DRC .
all this sounds so familiar…
Rwanda gives DRC back tonnes of smuggled minerals (Africa Review Nov. 2011)
About 82 tonnes of smuggled minerals seized by Rwandan police has been handed back to the Democratic Republic of Congo in a sign of improved relations between the two neighbours.
The minerals include cassiterite, or tin ore, as well as coltan, used in devices such as mobile phones.
DR Congo’s mineral wealth has been a major factor in years of conflict... .read more