Rwanda has kicked off a mining inspection campaign that will inform post-Covid-19 recovery strategies while also helping to contain spread of the pandemic in this backbone industry.
Among the instructions the inspection team is giving include that all mines will be required to have adequate tunnel ventilation, de-densification, screening and testing mechanisms.
Mining companies are also required to put in place tracing programmes, allow workers to work in shifts and provide relevant personal protection equipment (PPE) among others which will be needed for about 100, 000 persons in the sector.
“We request mining and quarry operators to act in accordance with these guidelines to ensure that they are protected from infection in the workplace. This virus is deadly but the good news is that it’s preventable,” said Francis Gatare, CEO of RMB.
Gatare made the remarks at the launch of the post-Covid-19 campaign at the Carrière de Milles Collines, a quarry site in Jabana sector in Gasabo District.
The campaign will be carried out across the country as part of the quick turn-around potential in the sector.
According to Rwanda mining board (RMB) this move will facilitate mining companies to quickly resume 100% operations with enhanced health and safety measures of employees and expedite licensing of new applications.
“The mining and quarry owners have to put in place risk assessment mechanisms to identify any risk or hazard to the safety and health in the mining activities,” RMB said.
According to Gatare the sector will also get a raise in productivity through scaled-up investments by reorganizing small scale mining operators, consolidating many of them into collective investment groups, and licensing their new collective companies.
“They will be supported with international investment mobilization,” Gatare said.
William Bakunda Shyaka, a shareholder at Carrière de Milles Collines mining site said that the company like others has been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown but he is now hopeful of resuming work with new targets.
“We are going to start looking for clients and though we have a problem of storing the 2000 cubic meters of concessions which is piled up here, we are sharing this problem with the government and hope to work past these issues, as our partners also resume work,” Bakunda Shyaka said.
For a quick turnaround post-Covid-19, Rwanda Mining Board said it has some more inputs such as; formalizing regional trade in minerals to support local smelters, refineries & all value addition and export business to also add value to jobs creation and raise export revenues, diversification, focusing on gold, gemstones, and to establish a partnership with international manufactures of equipment and explosives, to make them locally.
Others include defining mining and mineral exploration as a priority in investment code, and establishing a mineral exploration support fund- aimed at attracting international mineral exploration companies, and de-risk exploration investments, the key to achieving industrial-scale mining operations.
This comes at a time when Rwanda has also established a Kigali based International Financial Center- whose role is to attract more investments and provide financial consultancy and security for foreign investors.