BUJUMBURA March 22nd (ABP) – The mining sector presents an opportunity to significantly increase State revenues, but also a certain number of risks as indicated by the mining policy document of Burundi presented to the Cabinet Meeting of 16 March 2022 by the Minister in charge of Mines, Mr. Ibrahim Uwizeye.
He explained that having a mining policy is of paramount importance to have a clear vision, allowing to maximize the profits in that sector and to limit the related risks.
Thus, the involvement and consultation of the various stakeholders are essential.
The government of Burundi has recognized the need to draw up the mining policy document through an inclusive process that involved all stakeholders in the mining sector, according to the press release from the General Secretariat of the State. Its development was inspired by the African Mining Vision (AMV) and the experience of some African countries that have already put in place modern and attractive policies for the sustainable development of the mining sector. In addition, that policy must direct the drawing up of the mining sector by conforming to the new orientations of national and international policies, in particular the National Development Plan, the Regional Initiative to combat the illegal exploitation of Natural Resources, and others.
The document includes an analysis of the situation of the mining sector, the guiding principles of the policy, the objectives and strategies for its implementation, as well as an implementation plan for that mining policy.
The vision of that policy is to have a developed, competitive extractive sector, contributing significantly to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country.
At the end of the analysis, the Council of Ministers passed that bill, with some observations and recommendations.
The State, as owner of the subsoil, must not only play the role of regulator of the mining sector but must also supervise everything from research to exploitation. The granting of concessions for mining perimeters should be abandoned.
In mining, it is necessary to calculate the quantity of minerals corresponding to the capital contributed by the investor to pay it off, and to agree on the follow-up so that the win-win principle is respected. Particular emphasis must be placed on gold, which should have specific provisions concerning its exploitation, provide mechanisms allowing the State to exploit gold, keep it and market it.
The Burundi Mines and Quarries Authority must use the cooperatives for the exploitation of gold, collect it and remunerate those cooperatives. It needs to be re-energized to play its role.
The government, through the ministries in charge of finance and mines, must set an objective and a timetable for the quantities of gold and foreign currency reserves to be available over a well-defined period, and take measures to discourage intermediaries-collectors of gold and order the cooperatives to sell directly to the Central Bank.
The government should set up a refinery to turn gold into bullion.
The revision of the mining code is to be accelerated, but in the meantime, the current activities related to mining must continue but within a win-win framework. As part of the development of the mining map, it will be necessary to continue to request the repatriation of mining maps located abroad for parallel reading and complementarity with the research carried out by national experts. In the exploitation of minerals, it is necessary to demand the protection and restoration of ecosystems.
In the exploitation of mines, the State can exploit alone, associate with mining companies or entrust the activity of exploitation to a company for remuneration.
Concerning the natural resource “water” which is currently marketed a lot, operators in this field must pay to the State because it cannot limit itself to the collection of taxes only. With regard to the rare earth ores produced and in stock at the moment, they must be marketed for the State to derive revenue from them, the statement said.