DBPapers
DOI: 10.5593/SGEM2014/B13/S3.087

THE GEOMORPHOLOGICAL CHANGES CAUSED BY THE ARTISANAL MINING IN THE MINING AREA KABERA – RWANDA

M. Duskova, J. Machacek, I. Smolova
Wednesday 1 October 2014 by Libadmin2014

References: 14th International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference SGEM 2014, www.sgem.org, SGEM2014 Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-619-7105-09-4 / ISSN 1314-2704, June 19-25, 2014, Book 1, Vol. 3, 673-680 pp

ABSTRACT
Rwanda is a small East African country with significant mineral resources - tungsten, cobalt, tantalum, tin and gold in particular. These ore minerals are being mined in Rwanda for more than 80 years, but the production gained momentum only recently. These metals are essential in the electrical industry as electrical engineering products. Due to the difficult legal and technical conditions, natural resources are extracted by the manner typical of developing countries - artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). It is dominated by a mixture of artisanal and semi-industrious methods. The miners use methods like panning, sluicing, digging and hand picking to obtain the pre-concentrates. As a result of this method of extraction, there are significant variations in the relief of the landscape. The Kabera mine site is situated in the Western Rwanda. It is a part of the concession of Rutsiro rich in tungsten ore. Artisanal method of mining on the location Kabera began in the 1950s. At present, the location is owned by a mining company with only an exploratory concession, which is limited to four years. For this reason, it is not worthwhile for the company to invest in any costly mining or processing machinery in the mining area and therefore extraction is left to the local population, from whom the extracted ore is purchased. The amateur miners exploit it in an ASM manner that can be divided into two levels, according to the place from where the ore-bearing rock is obtained – from scree deposits in the mining site and from alluvial of the river beds of the river Rutsiro which flows alongside the foothill of the Kabera hill. ASM in the Kabera area involves using a stream of water in which the minerals are washed. The mining of tungsten has impacts on the environment and the river network system (bank ripping and landslides). Problems with erosion that deflect the flow of rivers and increase the levels of suspension and sedimentation in river basins are the biggest problems connected with ASM. Thanks to the combination of digging, sluicing and panning methods, new various landforms of georelief are created such as ditches, trenches, valleys, erosion gullies, accumulations of tailings and talus piles as well as plenty of shafts.The main purpose of this article is to capture and assess the rate of geomorphological changes and their impact on the structure of the landscape in this study area. The authors used the results of their own morphographic analysis from their field researches carried out in 2012 and 2013 with the goal of characterising the intensity of the anthropogenic processes conditioned by the extraction of tungsten ore in the Kabera mining area.

Keywords: Rwanda, mineral resources, artisanal and small-scale mining,
geomorphological changings