Rwanda: Govt Mulls Punishment for Landowners Who Permit Illegal Mining Activities

Landowners who allow persons without licenses to carry out mining…

Landowners who allow persons without licenses to carry out mining activities on their land risk being punished if a related provision in a new draft law on mining and quarry operations is approved by Parliament.

This is one of the proposed new changes in the bill that seeks to replace the 2018 law on mining and quarry operations.

The bill was tabled by the Minister in the Office of the President, Judith Uwizeye, before the lower chamber of Parliament on May 15.

Article 66 of the bill provides that a person who allows mining activity on his or her land to a person without a license commits an offence. Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year but not more than two years and a fine of not less than Rwf25 million but not more than Rwf50 million.

There have been cases of illegal mining activities that cost lives of people, and hinder transparency in the industry.

ALSO READ: Over 100 illegal mines identified as accidents kill 429 in five years

“Here, we request that penalties be imposed on landowners who allow [illegal] mining activities to be carried out on their land, yet they are well aware of that,” Minister Uwizeye said.

MP Jean Pierre Hindura said that there is a need to prevent a loophole in penalties that might result in victimising residents [landowners].

He pointed out that there might be cases where mining activities can be conducted on a person’s land without their knowledge or approval, citing people who live in Kigali and have land in the countryside.

“Providing that every person who owns land must be punished when mining is done on it illegally is not acceptable, unless it is established that they really played part in that. That must be precise,” he said.

Uwizeye said that caution will be exercised to ensure everything is done appropriately and no one is treated unfairly.

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