On Monday, a series of activities organized under the ‘Rwanda Mining Week’ were launched with an aim of raising awareness around the importance of the mining industry in the economy and mulling strategies to make it work better for a bigger impact. The activities are being held under the theme “Towards a Modern and Sustainable Mining Sector” which signifies the effort needed to make the sector – which is one of the key pillars of the national economy – yield more. Most importantly, the focus on this year’s theme is sustainability, with a renewed call to ensure mining is done but with respect to environment because if not done right, it will undo many of the gains the country has made in restoring and preserving the environment, and with disastrous consequences. To be able to do this requires adoption of modern technology as opposed to artisanal mining which is still pervasive in different parts of the country. Artisanal mining not only threatens the environment but also human health. Every year, we register deaths in mining quarries and majority of the victims are the same artisanal miners who take on such desperate undertakings to be able to find what to feed their families. Sustainability means doing mining in a safer way and on a larger scale using modern tools. We do not have to reinvent the wheel, there are globally acceptable mining practices that we should all embrace, which, fortunately, many local players are progressively adopting. This requires investment. Fortunately, more firms are entering the market, which implies more employment opportunities for the miners. Checks must be sustained to ensure these firms fulfill the internationally-accepted mining practices including observing the safety of the miners – both from accidents, through having the required protective gears – and economically empowered to be able to uplift their livelihoods.