Miners working in Kalinda Mining Company in Ruhango, Southern Province, have expressed concerns over their working conditions which they say are “poor” and “pose health hazards.” The miners also complain of little pay.
“We are paid by the quantity of minerals we extract from the mines that are poorly built and risky in most cases, our lives are in danger,” a miner said on condition of anonymity.
He said that to extract enough minerals to earn a decent pay, they are forced to go deep into the mines, even without the required protective gear.
“I wake up every morning knowing that I must fight to get more kilos of Cassiterite, if not, my day will pass with no income, I expose my life to danger and our bosses seem not to care,” another miner said.
Most of the affected miners are employed by Kalinda Mining Company.
Valens Kalinda, the Managing Director of the Kalinda Mining Company, said that most miners are employed on a part time basis because it is easier to manage them, but denied reports that miners are not insured.
“Part time workers can decide to work for a whole day or start at any time or even rest any time they want,” he said. “You should know that some people are complicated to deal with”.
The miners said that after realising that their bosses are not willing to address their concerns, and because of the small pay, they decided to lay strategies that would maximise their output.
“We work in groups and one group can be divided into two smaller groups that work in shifts in order to extract more minerals then later we share the money,” a source from another Eastern Province-based mine added.
Jean Paul Higiro the president of miners association in Rwanda, told The New Times that the mining industry has come a long way but a few companies still fail to meet the standards set by the association.
“I believe all workers have been covered by insurance because it as a prerequisite for any mining company to start that business,” said Higiro, who is also the president of African Primary Tungsten, a mining firm based in Kigali.