By Jean Ndahimana
Mining companies operating in Gakenke District have been reminded to prioritise safety of their employees and security of their concessions to prevent disasters and loss of lives that arise out of recklessness and illegal mining activities.
The call was made on November 27 during a meeting that brought together miners, Police and local authorities in Gakenke.
The meeting focused mainly on safety and security procedures in mining concessions in order to prevent unnecessary accidents that usually occur due to poor safety procedures.
The vice mayor of Gakenke in charge economic development, Aime François Niyonsenga, urged owners of concessions to ensure that worker performs their work in “favourable conditions, which are free from occupational accidents and diseases because only a safe and healthy worker can be more productive.”
He warned of appropriate action to any company that will be found violating standard procedures adding that investing in prevention of fatalities is cardinal.
“Some mining practices have been found to be dangerously unsafe those companies found to be faulting the safety standards risk their license being rescinded. There are specified safety and standard mining procedures that should be respected and followed,” Niyonsenga said.
The District Police Commander, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Jean Berchimans Dusengimana, also warned against employing minors in concessions, which amounts to child labour, prohibited and punishable by both national and international laws.
It was also resolved during the meeting to jointly step-up against illegal mining through regular operations and sharing of information on people suspected to be involved in illegal and deadly mining activities.
Article 438 of the Penal Code condemns illegal mining and unauthorized mineral exploration, with a term of imprisonment between six months and one year, plus a fine between Rwf3 million and Rwf10 million or one of these penalties.