MUHANGA- District officials on Thursday barred a local coltan mining cooperative (Comar) from any further mining activities after they discovered 11 children working in the mines.
The cooperative also lacked proper mining documents and was also posing a danger to the environment.
The decision was taken after a security operation to identify illegal coltan mining activities in the area.
At least eight people were arrested and are currently being held at Nyamabuye police.
“Comar mining cooperative and other miners in the area will have to stop their activities until we hold a meeting with the mining authority on the issue of regulations and guidelines that should be followed,” François Uhagaze, Muhanga Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, said.
He also held a meeting with residents of Muhanga Sector and urged them to protect the environment and desist from illegal mining activities.
“Such illegal mining activities have been responsible for environmental degradation and putting the lives of residents at risk,” he stated.
Two people are currently hospitalised at Kabgayi Hospital after being involved in a mining accident in the same area earlier in the week.
Residents said these activities have affected the ecosystem and resulted in the reduction of water sources and the destruction of a one hectare of natural forest in a short period.
The foreman of Comar Mining, Eugene Twahirwa, admitted having unlawfully employed juveniles.
“The children came looking for jobs and I offered them the jobs of collecting water.”