The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Mining Day Marked in Kayonza

Wolfram Mining and Processing Company (WMP) has performed well this year both in mineral processing and research, the company's Managing Director, Malic Kalima, has said.

Kalim, who doubles as the chairperson of the country's miners' association, was speaking at the International Mining Day at Rwinkwavu Sector, in Kayonza District over the weekend.

He said the company had made progress, broadened scope of activities and increased its revenue.

"We have moved from research to full-blown mining. This has increased our production from 12 tonnes to 31 tonnes per month," he said.

Kalima said minors' working conditions had generally improved, adding that they now possess all safety mining tools.

He further noted that the number of women working in the mines had increased since last year.

"Miners are slowly being transformed into professionals. They are developing their families and transforming communities. The trend is positive and we will maintain it," Kalima said.

Kalima, however, decried the rampant theft and fraud at the company's different sites. He cited Rwinkwavu Sector, where a gang of illegal miners clashed with the police last year.

Reacting to security concerns at the mines, Odette Uwamariya, the Governor of Eastern Province, said authorities were determined to avert crime.

"We had trouble last year with a group of thugs, locally known as 'Imarata', but the law-enforcers are vigilant," she said.

Evode Imena, the minister of state in charge of mining, who presided over the ceremony, said mineral exports over the past few years have increased, with the sector emerging as a major foreign exchange earner for the country.

"Entrepreneurs should go beyond tin and casseterite because there is also gold in the mines," Imena said.

He challenged the miners to increase production through use of modern mining tools.

Imena also urged the youth to take over from the elderly so as to sustain the operations.

Rwinkwavu minerals were discovered by Belgian brothers Gargarathos in 1930, and mining started in 1939 by Ridell and Gastrell (also Belgians).

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