Police in Ngororero District on Friday arrested two men for allegedly illegally possessing 47 kilograms of minerals.
Theophile Ntawukuriryayo and Theophile Ahashakiye and exhibits are currently held at Gatumba police station as RIB continues with investigations to establish the source of the minerals
Police said the minerals believed to be mined without license include coltan and cassitterite
The Western Region Police Spokesperson Chief inspector of Police (CIP) Bonaventure Karekezi said the operation was conducted in the Village of Kamina, Cell Ruhanga, and Sector Gatumba.
“The was conducted after residents told police the duo are suspected to be involved in an lawful mining and trade in minerals” said CIP KarekezHe hailed residents for their “improved participation and information sharing in eliminating illegal mining activities.
CIP Rugigana asked the public to desist from such lawlessness conduct but also lauded members of the public who inform law enforcement authorities about such illegal conduct.
“Mining is done by authorized dealers and minerals are supposed to be tagged before they are transported by a licensed dealer. When police officers find you without such legal documents to be in mineral dealings they will arrest you,” explained CIP Rugigana.
Article 1 of the Ministerial Regulations No 001/Minifom/2011 relating to fighting smuggling in mineral trading stipulates that nobody is allowed to purchase or sell minerals without commercial registration.
Article 4 of the same instrument indicates that transportation of minerals outside mining licensed areas (concessions and permits perimeters) is only allowed, when the consignment shows the source mine, its value and when it has the right tag.
Article 438 of the penal code, stipulates that; “Any person who undertakes illegal research or illegally carries out commercial activities in valuable minerals, shall be liable to imprisonment of six months to one year and a fine of up to Rwf10 million.”
Any person who receives or exports minerals and quarry substances without authorisation, under Article 440 of the Penal Code, is liable to a term of imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of two times the amount of the value of the received or exported substances.
Such operation also target even licensed mining firms that do not adhere to the environmental standards; unauthorized individuals who engage in mining especially at night, and even unlicensed people, who buy minerals from concessions illegally.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with other institutions, are in joint continuous efforts to combat all activities, especially illegal mining
Illegal mining activities have on some occasions often resulted into disasters and loss of lives.