Miners in Kamonyi District have been called upon to avoid polluting rivers when extracting minerals.
Francis Kayumba, the director of Regulation and Inspection unit at the Mines and Geology department under the Ministry of Natural Resources, issued the warning on Friday during a meeting with miners to assess results on a recent mining inspection in the district.
He said: “Polluting rivers is a cross-cutting issue that needs commitment from everyone of us. We need to practice green mining to ensure that we sustain our environment. When you pollute rivers, you jeopardise not only human life but also both ecological and aquatic biodiversity.”
A 10-day inspection carried out last month showed that most of the 37 miners’ cooperatives and companies in the district contribute directly or indirectly to pollution of river Nyabarongo.
Thaddée Ndaberetse, the managing director for Etablissement Ndaberetse Thaddée, one of the mining companies operating in the district, said they are committed to protecting rivers against pollution.
He said: “we all know that polluting water is unhealthy. Sometimes it is due to lack of enough infrastructure to manage water used in washing minerals or in managing soil erosion emanating from the mining site which goes to rivers and pollutes them.”
“We are ready to do our best to curb water pollution by planting trees on refilled sites, planting bamboos on river banks to reduce soils and impure water from flowing into rivers.”
Mining inspection is expected to be carried out within all the districts to encourage miners on green mining practices.
Currently, there are about 600 licensed minners who are expected to meet the overall target for the mining sector to achieve $400 million (nearly Rwf268 billion) worth of exports by 2017/2018 .
However, last year, total mineral export earnings dropped by almost 10 per cent to $203.32 million (about Rwf145.4 billion), from $225.7 million (about Rwf161.4 billion) in 2013, mainly due to a decline in international prices.