This is the English version of an article appearing in German in TAZ of 6 May 2015.
The German version is here: http://www.taz.de/!159355/
By Francois Misser
On 18 April, just a few days before the start of the Burundi political crisis triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s candidature to a third term in office, Nkurunziza signed a Decree awarding the Gakara rare earth mining concession to the Guernesey-based company Rainbow International Resources Limited chaired by the Greek entrepreneur Adonis Pouroulis who also founded the London-Stock-Exchange listed Petra Diamonds corporation.
The signature of the decree follows an offtake agreement signed on 14 April by another company of the same group, Rainbow Rare Earths Limited, with
ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products GmbH, part of the German ThyssenKrupp group. According to the deal, the German firm will purchase 5,000 tonnes per annum (“tpa”) of Rare Earth concentrate or downstream products resulting from this concentrate. Besides, Rainbow appointed ThyssenKrupp Metallurgical Products as its exclusive agent for sale worldwide. Production should begin during the last quarter of 2015, says Rainbow’s Managing Director, Martin Eales.
The deal is also important for ThyssenKrupp whose chairman of the management board, Kai-Norman Knötsch, commented that: “as the exclusive marketer of these high-quality products, we will have the opportunity to strengthen our customer relationships long term and gain further market share around the world.”
Through this deal, ThyssenKrupp gains access to an important rare earths deposit which is easily accessible with good road links with the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. The deposit is primarily composed of bastnaesite and monazite ores, a standard light rare earth oxide composition with a key interest in the Critical Rare Earth Oxides. Once operational, Gakara will be one of Burundi’s key mining projects.