Gishwati-Mukura Taskforce has suspended mining activities at Twabugezi Mining concession in Rutsiro District on grounds of gross damage on river banks, unsafe tunnels and lack of proper and safe infrastructure.
The taskforce is composed of the Rwanda National Police (RNP) Environmental Protection Unit (EPU), Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), Rwanda Mining Authority (RMA) and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) whose mandate includes ensuring sustainable mining practices and curtailing negative impacts of illegal mining.
The decision was reached at the end of their three-day inspection, during which they inspected eight mining concessions.
Supt. Modeste Mbabazi, the director of EPU, while elaborating on the decision of the commission, said: “We found a lot of devastating activities at Twabugezi Mining concession, the sedimentation of the mine had completely destroyed the river, the concession has unsafe tunnels and has no basic infrastructures. Basing on these high impact issues, the taskforce decided to suspend all mining activities at the site effective September 22.”
The taskforce, he added, also found “overwhelming illegal mining activities.”
The commission has since recommended that the firm rehabilitates the site and secure the river before it’s allowed to resume its activities.
The concession formerly belonged to NRD Limited - an American company that ceased operations in Rwanda.
The report by the taskforce, partly, indicates that all rivers crossing the former NRD Limited concession are blocked and mining is currently carried out by a “big number of unidentified people.”
The taskforce has also recommended that relevant entities fast-track the tendering process for all the concessions that were formerly owned by NRD.
“We appeal to companies to comply with the law and their license in particular, and employ mining professionals,” he said.