No fewer than fourteen miners died in an eastern Rwandan tin mine after a hill collapsed on them as a result of heavy rains, officials said on Monday.
“Because of recent rainfall in the area, part of the hill nearby collapsed and 14 miners who were getting ready for work were buried by land,” Fred Mufuruke, governor of Eastern province, said.
The mining site is owned by the Rwandan business of Britain’s Piran Resources, John Kanyangira, the director of mining inspection at Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RBM), said.
It was an open mining site and a nearby hill collapsed, burying seven men and seven women, he told Reuters.
Kanyangira said 81 people died last year in mining accidents.
He said Rwanda’s mining industry, quarrying excluded, employs 43,000 people.
Piran Resources has a 25-year mining license in eastern Rwanda for two concessions.
Piran Resources is part of Pella Resources, an Africa-focused natural resource and energy group.
Last month, at another mining site in the southern part of Rwanda, five miners were trapped underground when the site collapsed. Soldiers and member of the public dug them out alive after nearly two days.
Small-scale mining in Rwanda’s hilly landscape has led to landslides and mine collapses.
Earnings from Rwanda’s mineral exports more than doubled to $373-million in 2017 up from $166-million a year before.
The government says revenues are expected to climb to $600 million in this year.