Rwanda Mining Cadastre significantly benefits all stakeholders

By: Leandi Kolver, Mining Weekly
8th February 2013

Information technology company Spatial Dimension* began work on an 18-month project last month to implement its computerised mining cadastre system, FlexiCadastre, for the Rwandan Geology and Mines Department, which is the mining sector regulatory body within the Ministry of Natural Resources.

A well-implemented mining cadastre system creates significant benefits for all stakeholders in the region, says Spatial Dimension MD Bill Feast.

“Currently, Rwanda has a paper-based system that is enhanced by disparate systems and spreadsheets which, under the circumstances, function relatively well.

“However, Rwanda has recognised that its manual system can neither scale nor provide the security, auditability or transparency of a computerised system, which is why it has chosen to implement our FlexiCadastre solution,” Feast explains.

In addition to attracting investment, a mining cadastre system enables government to monitor compliance within the sector.

“This goes beyond ensuring that the necessary licence fees are paid and extends to work commitments, social and labour plans, environmental permitting, royalty and tax payments and extractive industry transparency initiative reporting,” he says.

For local businesses in Rwanda, particularly the artisanal mining sector, a mining cadastre system, such as FlexiCadastre, provides security of tenure that allows them to seek capital funding to develop their projects, Feast adds.

Meanwhile, a transparent mining cadastre system, together with a stable regulatory environment, is often as important for large international mining companies as the actual geology or mineral potential of that country.

“Globally, in the last year, we saw several of the large players being burnt after the validity of their joint venture partner’s licences were challenged. “When hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, a transparent and fully auditable mining cadastre system is essential,” Feast stresses.

This project forms part of Rwanda’s four-year Strategic Capacity Building Initiative (SCBI), which is focused on combining the delivery of government priorities with capacity building.

Rwanda has been one of the top ten fastest-growing economies of the last decade, with an average growth of more than 7% a year. It has also been named by the World Economic Forum as the most competitive place in East Africa in which to do business, he says.

“However, half the population still live in poverty and the scale of population growth threatens to wipe out the benefits of economic development.”

The mining sector is one of Rwanda’s biggest export earners and a key focus for government, through the SCBI, is to increase mining exports and production, while simultaneously delivering a positive economic impact for its citizens.

The mining cadastre will help the mining sector achieve this objective, he adds.

The initial implementation is expected to take six months and Spatial Dimension has a tried and tested methodology to implement FlexiCadastre.

The company starts with an inception or scoping phase, during which, together with the end-users, it details the exact project requirements, deliverables and timeframes. Thereafter, solution design and configuration take place.

“This leads to a preproduction system that undergoes full user-acceptance testing by the client. “Once the client accepts the solution, we enter the go-live phase of final data loading, training, production system deployment and go-live support,” he explains.

Once the system is operational, the project transitions to the 12-month support phase, during which Spatial Dimension provides 24/7 support for clients.

Countries in the region currently using the FlexiCadastre system include Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“While South Africa has taken some steps towards creating such a system, it has, unfortunately, yet to live up to its full potential. “The Department of Mineral Resources says it is working on improving the functionality of the system,” Feast concludes.

Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu

Link to original article: MiningWeekly

*Trimble acquired Spatial Dimension on September 2, 2015. FlexiCadastre is now part of the Landfolio software suite.