Twenty-four mining companies in Ngororero District have been temporarily suspended for failure to follow mining regulations.
The suspension of mining activities comes after a visit by the Minister of Local Government Prof Shyaka Anastase to Ngororero District in the last two weeks, during which he advised the administration to eradicate illegal mining activities.
On September 30, 2020, the Minister of Local Government, Prof Anastase Shyaka, visited Ngororero District and demanded that all illegal mining be stopped.
However, Ngororero District Mayor Ndayambaje Godefroid, said the suspension is not related to the Minister’s visit rather it complements Minister’s advice because there were previous actions which were taking place even before Local Government Minister.
“So, it does not mean that it is under pressure from the higher authorities or irresponsibility.”, the Mayor was quoted by Media as saying
“The Minister visited us one day and found something we had started to do and advised us on this issue which complement our previous actions against illegal mining activities,” he said.
On October 13, 2020, the Executive Secretary of the Western Province also chaired a meeting that brought together miners from all over Ngororero District, and in discussions with them and the district authorities, it was clear that there were many non-compliant mining companies which resulted in the suspension of the works to rectify the issue.
The miners are generally accused of causing environmental damages such as rivers including Nyabarongo river, a violation of workers’ rights, where there are workers who do not have work uniforms, bathhouses and toilets.
In addition to environmental degradation, illegal mining has been shown to cause human deaths, and insecurity such as violence.
After reviewing these mining challenges, the Executive Secretary of the Western Province and the participants concluded that the miners would have temporarily suspended their activities, and a team would be set up to monitor the mining regulations, starting October 15, 2020.
Ngororero District Mayor Ndayambaje Godefroid said the decision included a temporary halt to mining activities involving all stakeholders, so that there was no injustice to some.
Ndayambaje says the miners themselves have demanded that they stop their activities to solve the bottlenecks, and that those who speed up the process be given green light for the activity’s resumption while those who appear to have serious problems can take their time to deal with them.
“We have set up a compliance monitoring team at each mining company, and tomorrow morning the qualified person will solve those problems, and the team will assess the progress so that we can take another conclusion based on the team satisfaction.” he said.218