Rwanda National Police has called on owners of mining concessions to “all safety precautions” to avoid any likely disasters and fatalities that may arise, especially during the rainy season that has started.
The call comes on the heels of two incidents in Ngororero and Rwamagana districts that claimed two lives on October 1. The separate incidents resulted from Friday heavy downpour that weakened the cliffs of the two concessions.
Police identified the victims as Jean Marie Vianney Mutazihana and Ezechiel Munyarukumbuzi of Ngororero and Rwamagana respectively.
Both victims were swept away by landslides.
Part of the safety recommendations singled by Police include, avoiding late night mining activities, inspecting the sites before mining and refraining from mining during heavy rainfall.
In Ngororero, Mutazihana was swept away by landslide as he was mining coltan in a closed concession in Ngoma Sector.
Reacting to the incident, the District Police Commander (DPC) of Ngororero Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Marc Gasangwa, appealed to the residents to desist from illegal mining activities as one of the preventive measures against disasters.
Illegal mining is said to be the major cause of disasters and loss of lives.
“Illegal mining comes with a lot of devastating effects like death, pollution of water bodies and ecosystem, causes disasters like landslides and soil erosion.”
“No one is allowed to practice mining without a license or enter a concession without the required protective gear. Closed concessions are out of boundaries for any mining activity,” said the DPC.
“Mining is not something that is practiced by anyone; it requires skills and knowledge that’s why it’s a profession that requires a license to the practitioners.”
The DPC of Rwamagana, Superintendent of Police (SP) Edward Kizza echoed the same message and appealed to owners of concessions to frequently conduct risk assessments as a preventive measure.
“In conducting frequent risk assessments, minors should be looking at the possibility of environmental disasters that could lead to loss of lives,” said SP Kiza.
“Having a license to mine doesn’t mean that you have to ignore what may cause disasters; environmental protection is part of the responsibilities.”
The DPC also advised concession owners to put in place safety precautions like equipping their employees with all the required gears, rehabilitate abandoned sites, always abide by laws governing mining and also ensure all miners are equipped with standard accessories necessary to protect them from any incidents.