NYABIHU MINERS have committed to work hard to professionalise their businesses by promoting green mining.
The miners said this, last week, while meeting with officials from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the district.
The meeting sought to explore ways to professionalise mining activities while ensuring green mining to avoid polluting rivers.
It was also an opportunity for officials to release results from a mini-mining inspection being carried out in the district to encourage miners on green mining practices.
The miners said, while the industry still faces some challenges such as lack of improved infrastructure and equipment, they are committed to using the available resources to professionalise their trade.
Gaston Kagofero, the manager of Hope Mining Company in Nyabihu, cited falling international prices of minerals and long period to realise returns on investment among the main challenges.
However, Kagofero challenged miners not to ignore regulations and move toward professionalising the sector.
“Mines play a big role in individual and national development; we are committed to working hard and professionalising the sector,” he said.
“We know it is not easy to practice professional mining given prevailing challenges such as inadequate training but with modern mining, we are committed to promoting green mining,” he added.
Joseph Ngabo Rutimurwa, of Mugeni Mining Company, said they had started promoting green mining by planting trees around the mines and river banks.
“We have also taken measures to prevent polluted water used in mines from flowing into the river,” he said.
“We have improved ways of extraction; we are currently working on how to do vertical mining other than going deep, which exposed miners to accidents. We want to improve lives of miners.”
Abiding by the law
Francis Kayumba, the director of regulation and inspection unit at the Mines and Geology department under the Ministry of Natural Resources, urged miners to respect mining regulations, and boost their production while protecting environment.
“Miners should know there are laws protecting the environment and those promoting green mining and ensure that they don’t harm environment while extracting. We encourage them to professionalise mining and know they can face penalties whenever they don’t abide by laws,” said Kayumba.
Currently, there are about 600 licensed miners 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.
L ast 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 for minerals.