Rwanda: Over 100 Illegal Mines Identified as Accidents Kill 429 in Five Years

Mine accidents have killed at least 419 people while 272 were injured in a period of five years, a report by Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) on the status of illegal mining and accidents shows.

“Accidents happen in both licensed and non-licensed mines and quarries and lead to loss of life and injuries for many people,” it stated.

According to the report, 337 mine accidents were recorded from July 2018 to 2022.

Of these, the report shows, 252 accidents happened in mines owned by companies that were legally operating while 85 accidents happened in sites owned by companies that were operating illegally.

The accidents that happened in mines owned legally operating were caused by different factors.

For instance, in 2019, only 40 percent of mining firms complied with mining standards.

That means firms failed to comply with safety and health standards, waste management, modern mining operations, environment protection, processing, infrastructures, community relations, and others.

Mine accidents killed 60 in 2018, 84 in 2019, 71 in 2020, 61 in 2021, and 61 in 2022.

“Data collection started in July 2018 when we deployed RMB mineral field officers at the district level throughout all the districts in the country. The contribution of illegal mining to accidents varies from time to time,” the mining board told The New Times.

It says that currently 109 areas across the country have been identified for illegal mining.