Police warns over illegal mineral trade

On 22 November 2019 at 04:00

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has warned the general public against illegal mining and trade in minerals. The force further calls for public partnership to fight such illegal activities by reporting those involved.

This comes after several people have been arrested for either conducting illegal mining operations or unlawful trade in minerals.

In the latest case, Police in Gatsibo District, on Wednesday, arrested two illegal mineral dealers with 70kgs of wolfram.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Hamdun Twizeyimana, the police spokesperson for Eastern region identified the suspects as Eliezel Musengimana, 27, and Fraterne Shyaka, 28, over illegal mining.

“The suspects were arrested in Rugarama Sector with the minerals after the locals called the Police. They were buying minerals from miners, who were also mining illegally,” said CIP Twizeyimana.

“Mining or trade in minerals has to follow the law; right people being in the right concession at the right time. A dealer has to be licenced to do so and transportation has to be done in the right way—minerals have to be tagged to show the origin partly to fight fraud and tax evasion.”

“Illicit mining activities don’t follow legal and safety provisions. They take place at abandoned mineral concession and illegal miners often operate under dangerous conditions. Not only is illegal mining risky from a safety perspective for those who choose to participate, risking their lives and that of others; but it leads to outcomes that have negative long-term consequences,” said the spokesperson.

Article 54 of the law on mining and quarry operations, states that “any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a license commits an offence

Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.