Police in Ngororero District have impounded a truck that was found loaded with one tonne of amethyst stones that had been illegally mined from Gishwati forest.
Amethyst is a bright shining purple stone that is often used in making jewelry. Although the mineral is found in Gishwati Forest, miners have been extracting it illegally.
Rwanda suspended mining in Gishwati to first restore a nearly extinct forest.
According to the Western Region Police Spokesperson, IP Theobald Kanamugire, the intercepted truck had all the documents authorising it to transport minerals but the consignment it carried had been obtained illegally.
“The truck is currently impounded at Ngororero Police station; those that had hired it had bought Amethyst from illegal miners. Mining is one of the major revenue generators for Rwanda; it’s the kind of business that has to be done in a clean manner and by authorised personnel. There are clear channels that have to be followed, and breaching those guidelines means going against the law, which we can’t allow,” Kanamugire said.
Kanamugire noted that mining is regulated to ensure standards and environmental protection.
“Authorised miners should be environmental conscious; they should do it in a legal manner and should always plant trees where they’ve cut them. We also call on the public to always report any illegal mining activities,” he said.