Police in Ngororero on Wednesday arrested a man found in possession of 29 kilogrammes of untagged casseterite and amethyst.
The district police commander of Ngororero, senior supt. Mark Gasana, said that minerals were recovered from the suspect’s home in Birembo Village, Cyome Cell in Gatumba Sector, where he was arrested.
The arrest was the result of the ongoing awareness against mining malpractices through which residents provide information on anyone potentially involved.
“There are many mining concessions in Ngororero, some of which are closed. In most cases, those involved in these mining malpractices are employees of licenced mining companies or of companies that were closed,” Gasana said.
Common minerals in Ngororero are coltan, cassiterite, wolfram, and amethyst, which was discovered in 2015 in Kavumu sector.
Currently, there are about 30 mining firms in the district, and most concessions are located in the sectors of Muhororo, Gatumba, Ndaro, Nyange, Kabaya, Ngororero and Muhanda.
Increased police action against illegal mining has led to several arrests in Ngorero. Last week, police intercepted a vehicle that was smuggling 46 kilogrammes of untagged coltan, while in mid-June, they impounded a truck transporting two tonnes of untagged amethyst.
Elsewhere too, the crackdown is having results. Last month, an operation against illegal mining in Gatsibo District led to the arrest of about 30 people who were mining cassiterite illegally in an unauthorized concession in Rugarama Sector.
In March, about 600 kilogrammes of untagged wolfram and cassiterite smuggled in two vehicles were seized in Rulindo District.