By: Jade Davenport
Published: 6 Feb 2008 - 17:13
The Burundi government was proactively promoting foreign investment in its small and largely underdeveloped mining sector.
Addressing delegates at the Mining Indaba, the Burundian Minister of Water, Energy and Mines Samuel Ndyiragije said that the government was making a substantial effort to develop the economy by giving high priority to the exploration of its mineral resources.
Ndyiragije further stated that a number of facilities and advantages would be available to mining companies and foreign investors that would be prepared to invest in either exploration activities or mining projects.
Although Burundi was formally known an as agricultural nation and did not have a tradition of mining activities, Ndyiragije stated that Burundi had substantial deposits covering a wide spectrum of minerals.
These included nickel, gold, uranium, cobalt, copper, platinum, vanadium, niobium, tantalum, tin and tungsten. Other natural resources included rare earth oxides, peat, arable land, hydropower, kaolin and limestone.
In addition to this, Ndyiragije stated that Burundi was thought to have small amounts of oil reserves.
“The preliminary works with two drills, have shown possibilities of finding oil resources in the depth of the base of Lake Tanganyika.”
He told delegates that several companies were already actively exploring in Burundi, focusing on the countries extensive gold, vanadium and copper-cobalt deposits.
However, Ndyiragije warned that the biggest challenge facing the development of a mining sector in Burundi was the country’s shortage of energy.
Currently, Burundi imported most of its electricity from energy, although Ndyiragije added that Burundi hoped to be interconnected to the Ugandan and Tanzanian national electricity grid in the near future.
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By: Jade Davenport