RWAMAGANA - The Minister of Lands and Environment, Christophe Bazivamo, has asked residents of Musha and Mwurile sectors in Rwamagana District, to immediately stop illegal mining of Cassiterite minerals in the area.
The warning comes a week after 11 unauthorised miners died after being trapped in one of the mines in Mwurile sector. Addressing residents of Mwurile, Bazivamo explained that anybody caught in illegal mining and trade will be penalised.
He added that mining at the two sites of Musha and Mwurile has been banned until competent investors are got.
“Although the ban may be difficult to enforce, illegal mining is punishable by the law. Security officials and local leaders are on alert, to bring to book any culprits,” he said.
“We are taking measures to protect illegal mining… people need to understand the dangers involved.”
The provincial Governor, Dr. Ephraim Kabaija, shared the same concerns, urging residents to keep away from the mines until they are hired by a competent company.
“It is high time you realised the futility of keeping in risky mining activities. You don’t gain anything but death…get down and practice agriculture like your neighbours in other districts,” he told the residents.
Dr. Michael Biryabarema, Director of the Rwanda Geology and Mines Authority (OGMR), stressed the need for safety of miners.
He observed that illegal mining is motivated by high Tin prices on the global market. “You know Tin is got from Cassitérite. A tonne has hiked to US $ 25.000 but no one is allowed to engage in mining without a recognised license,” he said.