Rwanda can help US and Europe protect their futures, Trinity Metals CEO says

Peter Geleta Trinity Metals CEO
Peter Geleta, CEO of Trinty Metals. Photo Credit: Trinity Metals

Europe and the US can make up lost ground in the race to secure materials essential for their technological transformation by looking to Africa, according to Peter Geleta, CEO of Trinity Metals.

Trinity mines tin, tantalum and tungsten in Rwanda. All three metals play crucial roles in advanced manufacturing – from mobile phones to cars, to military applications. But much of the world’s production – around 80% – is dominated by China and Chinese businesses which have been expanding aggressively in recent decades.

“That creates a bit of a problem for the Western world and the US in terms of trying to get more diversity in terms of supply chain,” Geleta told Qonversations. “And, and that’s where I think Africa can play a huge role. And certainly, Rwanda can play a huge role.”

In the two years since Trinity Metals was formed, it has increased production from around 20 tons of tin per month at two of its mines to more than 135 tons per day, while Tungsten production at a third has climbed from 29 tons to 100 tons. With more investment including expanding the mines and introducing better processing capacity, Geleta sees that number increasing dramatically further. New processing plants could increase the recovery rates for ore from 20% now to 80% or 90% also allowing discarded material from decades of previous mining to be recovered, he says.

Trinity Metals has recently received $3.8 million in funding from the US International Development Financing Corporation. Geleta believes governments in Washington and European capitals need to accelerate their partnerships in Africa.

“The Americans and the Europeans need to start moving quicker. Because China’s holding a lot of the property at the moment -they are holding the keys. So I think the big competition between China and, America, Europe is sort of going to get to a boiling point on mining,” he said.

Trinity’s project shows that traditional concerns about the size of metal deposits in Rwanda are misplaced, according to Geleta. He also believes the company may be able to access significant volumes of lithium from existing locations. Research into the size and viability of the deposits are ongoing, but Geleta is optimistic they will prove to be richer than in other projects launching around the world.

But Africa is not only going to be an important source of materials in the future. As Western workforces age, and traditional industries such as mining struggle to attract skilled labour, African men and women are poised to fill the gap.

“You are having less and less youngsters that are joining the industry from the developed world. And I think this provides Africa with a major advantage where you have high unemployment. So, you still have a huge, ability to attract, people into the industry. So, I think Africa is actually going to provide the skill base to a lot of the international miners for the future,” he said.

 

 

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