By The Inspirer writer
This year, he said, it is the first time that Rwanda will have over 100 graduates from geology and mine at the University of Rwanda, Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) CEO has said.
Francis Gatare made the disclosure on Monday, May 13, 2019 as the Board he heads was appearing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony over 2019/2020 budget allocation hearing.
“We had never had such graduates because that programme was not existing in Rwanda. “That is why we will continue to encourage the private sector so that they employ them so that even the next graduates will get jobs in the mining business. And that is where we see opportunities in improving this sector so that it becomes professional,” he said.
The School of Mining and Geology in the College of Science and Technology, was started by the University of Rwanda started beginning academic year 2015/2016 [on September 1, 2015], following approval and support by the government.
The rationale for creation of the School is based on the perceived primary and important role the school will play in national economic growth through development and support of a strong mining industry, and it is expected to become a center of excellence for mining and geological studies in the region, according to information from the school.
The government will continue having talks with private firms engaged in mining so that they employ members of staff who have recognised degrees in mining and geology, Gatare observed.
Gatare said that in the current financial year which will come to an end on June 30, 2019, RMB had talks with private firms engaged inmining so that they take on at least two qualified workers, one in charge of social affairs of miners, and another responsible for environmental protection.
“In this financial year, we plan to continue to have talks with the private sector so that we have at least 300 new jobs that will be created for people who studied mining related courses either at university or college,” he said.
MP Pio Nizeyimana said that there have been accidents in various parts of the country resulting from min collapse, calling for efforts to protect safety of miners, adding that protection of environment is also an urgent issue.
“Is there any support to refill or rehabilitate areas degraded by mining activities such as holes left after mineral extraction, which pose a serious threat to children’s health as they might fall into them,” he wondered.
Among the factors which will help advance mining sector, Gatare said, there is having professional and improved mining which protects the lives of the miners and protecting the environment.”
“That is why we will strengthened efforts in visiting and inspecting mines and ensuring that the entities engaged in mining business meet the required standards,” he said.
He observed that they have set a target to get at least 50 percent of the mining firms meet standards.
“Honorable deputies, you might wonder why we are not targeting 100 percent of mining firms meeting standards, which should ideally be the case. The reason is that we are starting from a low baseline where currently, less than 25 percent comply with the set standards,” he said.
But, he said, they have put more efforts in continuing to evaluate them, teaching them and building people’s awareness on the new law regulating mining which provides punishments to those who break guidelines.
Mineral export earnings have continued an upward trend from $149.1 million in 2015/2016, to $166 million in 2016/2017 and $373 million in 2017/2018, indicate figures from RMB.
RMB targets to increase increase mining export revenues to $800 million by 2020 and $1.5 billion annually by 2024.
Among intervention to be made, there is promoting investment in exploration, mining, mineral trading and mineral processing and other mining, Gatare said.
Another approach, he pointed out, is to raise awareness and enforce the use of modern mining and mineral processing technology withmines consolidation.
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