Gatumba Mining Concessions (GMC) will help expand Rwanda’s emerging mining sector by investing $2.5m and developing ten small processing plants over five years.

The efforts follow a new agreement by the Rwandan Government and GMC to exploit coltan or columbium-tantalum, an ore that generates tantalum, according to Reuters.

GMC chairman Bruce Stride said the company is planning to develop ten plants with a $60,000 monthly turnover each, of which $25,000 will be profit.

Stride said the company also wants to develop some “medium-sized” open pit mines that generate tin ore and other minerals in case coltan’s global price improves.

Stride said global prices of coltan must reach $60 per pound, an increase from $38 per pound, for the planned medium-sized mines to be economically viable.

Stride said a new pilot plant on the 51,400 acre concession yields 700g of tantalum and tin ore per ton of material extracted, double the volume predicted in the company’s geological survey.

“The company’s main aim in this geological survey was to find one or two spots where we could put big, what you’d call internationally medium-size mines, for mining tantalum, tin, niobium and some wolframite too,” Stride said.

“We will be concentrating on these (small-scale) operations until the prices of commodities and metals improve a little bit and make those larger mines viable.”