The general population especially communities residing near mining sites appealed to desist from illegal mining activities, which in some cases result into disasters and loss of lives.
The call follows an incident on December 6 in Nduba Sector of Gasabo District where one Seleverien Minani died instantly as he was illegally mining casseterite in a closed concession, after he tampered with a weak cliff causing landslide.
The body of the deceased was exhumed shortly after the incident after a resident, who had witnessed the occurrence, dispatched the information.
Supt. Emmanuel Hitayezu, the Police Spokesperson for the City of Kigali, said: “These are unfortunate incidents that are preventable. In most cases people who go in these concessions for illegal activities have no knowledge of the status of the site. There is always a reason as to why some concessions are temporarily or permanently closed, which include the health or life risks foreseen.”
“This concession, for example, had been closed by its owner to give way for its upgrade to the required standard and to avert such risks,” Supt. Hitayezu said.
The concession belongs to Crystal Mining Trading Company.
Supt. Hitayezu further noted that such illegal activities also have their effects on the environment and water pollution in particular, and have also contributed to soil erosion.
“Mining is not something that is practiced by anyone; it requires skills and knowledge, if it is done wrongly, a lot is at risk including people’s lives that’s why it’s a profession that requires expertise,” said Supt. Hitayezu.
“These illegal miners also do not put in place any measures that will safeguard them from taking risks like dust, smoke and landslides. With the fact that the illegal miners are mostly unskillful, they also operate with no protective gears.”
He appealed to residents to always report to authorities, people who conduct such unlawful activities to prevent likely loss of lives and combat illegal mineral business, which also has an impact on the country’s economy.
RNP established and Environmental Protection Unit (EPU) mandated to protect the environment in all aspects, including air space, forestry and biodiversity, as well as the enforcement of different legal instruments that protect environment.
As per the penal code, Illegal mining is punishable under article 438 of the Rwandan Penal Code, with a jail term of one year and a fine between Rwf3 million and Rwf10 million.