Professor Gilbert Midende

BUJUMBURA April 11th (ABP) – RAINBOW MINING BURUNDI (RMB) Company managed to exploit the rare earths at the Gasarwe site in Mutambu commune of Bujumbura province (west) and build its treatment plant in Kabezi , in strict compliance with environmental standards, said the Director General of the company, Professor Gilbert Midende, in a press briefing held on Monday in Bujumbura.

Officially launched in July 2017 by the President of the Republic of Burundi, that company whose temporary offices are located in Kabondo neighborhood in Bujumbura Town Hall, will have to move to Kabezi in the coming days, since it has succeeded in its commitments, six months of work, to export 325 tons of rare earth, an average of 100 tons per month, said Professor Midende, indicating that the company is 25% of its target, a satisfactory result, given the climate conditions, including rains that make the work of operation be interrupted from time to time.

The rare earth content of Burundi is of exceptional quality, according to Professor Midende who also emphasizes that it plays on the price. With each export, he said, the company has to pay an Ad Valorem tax of 4% and the payments come a long time later. Asked whether the construction works of the processing plant and the new offices of the RMB Company on Gakungwe hill in Kabezi commune comply with the environment code, the professor replied affirmatively in stating that prior to construction, the company first analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of the site in relation to Mutambu where the rare earth site is located.                                                                                               The techniques used in the construction of the Gakungwe plant comply with environmental standards, according to Professor Midende, adding that no drop of water from Lake Tanganyika is captured by this company, which, in order to scrupulously respect the environment, is collecting water by pumping the groundwater it needs. The water used by the rare earth processing machines is recycled, he said, indicating that the company has taken the worry of regularly producing reports of its promises, in relation to the respect of environmental standards in all what it does.

With regard to the exploitation work of the rare earths which are done on hills belonging to the people, the company, according to Midende, took the care to compensate them. 250 people received compensation of about 100 million BIF after analysis and validation of the committee in charge of this activity including the chairperson of the communal council, the prosecutor and the presiding judge of the local court, the priest of the parish, the representative of the RMB company and the hill leader, an operation that does not meet any challenge until today.

With regard to the challenges facing the company, its Director General indicates that they are of two kinds, namely the technical and physical constraints and constraints related to the qualification of technical staff. Note that the company has the ambition to open other rare earth exploitation sites in Kabezi and Nyabiraba communes whose relief is favorable to produce this kind of minerals whose main buyer is China.

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