May 27, 2024


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Rwanda Mining Companies set Minimum Living Wage to Address Worker Exploitation

Our Reporter

Investors in the mining industry in Rwanda have made a significant decision to change the way miners are paid in order to address issues of exploitation and illegal mining. A recent study sponsored by FES Rwanda in 9 different district revealed that 81% of small miners were paid based on the amount of production, leading to situations where workers would go home empty-handed if they did not find anything to mine.

Mr. Francis Kamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, RMB, emphasized the importance of ensuring that workers are fairly compensated for their work.

He stated that the previous payment system was contributing to illegal mining activities and that it was time for a change.

Mr. Francis Kamanzi, CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, RMB

In response to these concerns, mine owners and government authorities have agreed to set a minimum living wage of two thousand Rwandan francs (Rwf 2,000) for miners who do not find any valuable materials. This new system aims to provide a basic income for workers and discourage illegal mining practices.

Eng. Mutsindashyaka Andre, the Secretary General of the Rwanda Extractive Workers Union (REWU), expressed gratitude for the new payment system, acknowledging that while Rwf 2,000 may not be enough, it is a step in the right direction.

He believes that this change will improve the livelihoods of miners and reduce dependency on illegal mining.

“We are not saying that Rwf 2000 is sufficient, but it is a starting point. Going from zero to two thousand is a significant step, and we appreciate employers for recognizing this and providing their workers with two thousand Rwf. This will enable workers who do not meet production targets to make a living and work more professionally, as they will have stability in their jobs.” Eng. Mutsindashyaka said

Kemirembe Mellon, Training and compliance Officer at Ministry of public service and labour, commended the efforts of the government and industry stakeholders in addressing workers’ concerns. She emphasized the importance of ongoing discussions to ensure Minimum living wages for all workers in the mining sector.

The mining industry in Rwanda is a crucial economic driver, second only to tourism in terms of revenue generation. 

Anne Felmet, FES Rwanda Resident Representative speaking at the validation workshop in Kigali

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