Extractive Industries

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MININFRA) is the responsible ministry for both Mining and Petroleum.


Mining is Rwanda's primary foreign exchange earner. The country is Africa’s leading producer of tungsten (c.70% of total African production) and is ranked second in the production of tin (c.20%) and coltan metals (c.30%). The main tin ore mined is cassiterite; wolfram is the tungsten ore extracted.  Rwanda also mines about 9% of the tantalum produced globally.  Rwanda’s Ministry of Natural Resources has proven that it is willing to close down mining production for environmental reasons; for instance, in 2012 it suspended extraction in western Rwanda in the watershed of the River Sebeya, citing water pollution concerns.


Historically, Natural gas has been commercially extracted from Lake Kivu, but this ceased in 2006. Further to seven years of exploration activity on the Lake, an allegedly "amicable" disagreement regarding production shares led to the cancellation of the commercial deal between the oil company (Vanoil of Canada) and the Government of Rwanda, and the halting therefore of further exploration.  

Prior to this event, proven reserves of helium-rich methane were estimated in 2009 to be of the order of 56.65 billion3, with a further c.200 million cubic metres of methane being generated p.a, however these reserves are shared with the DRC. Rwanda is a net petroleum importer and most of its domestic petroleum industry remains downstream (e.g. retail sales) not upstream, despite the efforts to stimulate upstream investment by the MININFRA, see below.

In 2015 it was announced that Rwanda would develop a new draft Law on Petroleum Exploration, taking forward the Upstream Petroleum Policy adopted by the Rwandan Cabinet on June 12 2013 to regulate the country's petroleum industry.