Police in Ruhango District, on Monday, seized 2.8 tonnes of minerals and arrested two people in connection with the illegal mineral trade.
Those arrested are Adrien Iradukunda, 27, the driver of the vehicle they which was intercepted transporting the minerals and Gilbert Ndiroreye, 48, the owner of the minerals.
The vehicle plate number RAB 876F carrying the minerals was intercepted in Kinihira Sector, Gitinda Cell.
The police spokesperson for the Southern region, Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Sylvestre Twajamahoro said the suspects collected the minerals from different illegal miners.
“We received information that Ndiroreye and Iradukunda are buying and collecting minerals in the area. We traced and caught them in possession of 2, 800kgs, which they were transporting in the vehicle plate RAB 876F. Ndiroreye was the owner while Iradukunda is the driver,” CIP Twajamahoro said.
The spokesperson said that those minerals were mainly excavated in closed mining concessions.
“Mining concessions in Kabagari and Kinihira sectors, where the minerals were mined, closed for safety and legal reasons. Anyone who conducts mining activities in these closed sites, therefore, breaks the law put also exposes themselves to risks because of the status of these concessions,” said CIP Twajamahoro.
Article 3 of the ministerial regulations on fighting smuggling in mineral trading, forbids “importation of minerals into Rwanda without proper documents indicating their origin and the weight at origin, given by the right authorities.”
These minerals have to be with required trade documents, and to be certified and tagged by competent authorities.
Equally, article 4 provides that transportation of minerals outside mining licensed areas—concessions and permits perimeters—is only allowed, when the consignment shows the source mine, its value and when it has the right tag.
Article 54 of the law on mining and quarry operations, states that “any person, who undertakes mineral or quarry exploration, exploitation, processing or trading without a licence commits an offence.”
Upon conviction, the offender is liable to imprisonment for a term of between two and six months and a fine of not less than Rwf1 million and not more than Rwf5 million or only one of these penalties.
The court also orders confiscation of any seized minerals or quarry in storage, trading or processing without a licence.