The Secretary General of Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU), Mutsindashyaka André has reminded all persons working in mining sector to always abide by the law which governs the extractive and mining Industry in Rwanda.
The reminder was made last week on BTN TV where officials in mining sector were discussing the status of Mining sector during the time of COVID 19 which has heavily affected the mining sector as explained by officials.
Mr. Mutsindashyaka who was representing the Union members said that miners should follow all guidelines that were put in place in order to develop the Industry and make it a profitable sector for both workers and investors.
He said that in past years many workers had not contracts with their bosses until recently when companies are starting to sign contracts with employees before starting the job.
“Based on the nature of this job, every worker in mining sector should have a contract that can cover him/her during the time of unpredicted problems.” Mutsindashyaka said.
He added that each miner should have for instance Health Insurance Coverage and companies also have responsibility to pay Social security fees for all employees.
In addition, he calls upon all workers in Mining sector to join REWU membership Syndicate to ease the governance in the mining industry as well as to make their collective voice heard on matters that can hinder their wellbeing as workers in the Industry.
According to Mutsindashyaka, the directives does not focus on workers only, they also target employers.
“For instance, an employer has a responsibility of preventing Child labour or child exploitation in this sector.” He said.
“Employer should not allow an underage person to do mining. This is a violation of child’s right and it is punishable by the law.” Mutsindashyaka explains.
New Rwanda mine directives
This year the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) unveiled new strategies in June to help the mining sector to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Mining Review Africa reported.
Rwanda now targets becoming a regional mineral hub, focusing on downstream processing and trading.
According to spglobal.com news article, during the recent Webinar, speaker Marcus Courage, CEO of London-based Africa Practice, an Africa-focused strategic advisory firm, noted that progress on regional integration has moved faster in East Africa than in the rest of the continent.
Rwanda established its first-ever gold refinery last year, with capacity to process gold from around the continent, boosting African efforts to add value to minerals before export. There is a Rwandan-owned tin smelter in Kigali, East Africa’s sole tin smelter, recently certified as conflict-free, and there are plans to establish a tantalum smelter.
RMB’s strategies also involve reorganizing small-scale mining operators into licensed collective companies to be supported with international investment.
Mining equipment and explosives are now to be made locally; mining and mineral exploration defined as a priority in the investment code, and a Mineral Exploration Support Fund set up.
“The aim is to attract international mineral exploration companies, and de-risk exploration investments, key to achieve industrial scale mining operations,” Mining Review Africa said.
Menell said Tinco is looking at establishing tin smelting operations in Rwanda to make ingots, but that tungsten is more difficult to beneficiate locally as it is more energy intensive.
Rwanda also has “interesting lithium hard-rock potential,” he said. “It is a low-value commodity in its raw form and would be interesting to look at processing locally.”