Rwanda COVID-19 measures won't affect mining exports, official says

KIGALI, June 29 (Reuters) - New stricter lockdown measures to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases in Rwanda will not affect the country’s ability to export minerals, the chief executive of Rwanda’s mines board said on Tuesday.

Rwanda mandated a curfew from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. and ordered all offices, including government offices, to close from July 1 for two weeks in eight districts and the capital Kigali.

“I don’t believe the current measures will affect our normal services to the Mining Companies,” Francis Gatare, CEO of Rwanda’s Mines, Petroleum, and Gas Board, told Reuters in an email.

Export permits for minerals are processed online, Gatare said, meaning they will not be disrupted by government offices being shut. The transportation of commercial goods is permitted under the COVID-19 guidelines, Gatare added.

Rwanda is a leading producer of tin, tungsten, and tantalum. The country produced 1,200 tonnes of tin, 1,000 tonnes of tungsten, and 270 tonnes of tantalum in 2020 according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Writing by Helen Reid; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)