Cibitoke: a dozen gold mining cooperatives closed

Cibitoke: a dozen gold mining cooperatives closed

Seventeen gold mining cooperatives in the communes of Mabayi and Bukinanyana in the province of Cibitoke (north-west of Burundi) have been closed since January 23. The governor speaks of a decision taken by his hierarchy “because those concerned did not respect the agreement with the government”. Each cooperative should quarterly offer 1kg of gold to the government. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

It was the provincial governor who announced the decision. Carême Bizoza said the heads of those cooperatives have not respected their commitment to “give the Burundian government one kg of gold each quarter”.

The interested parties explain their failure saying they use archaic techniques.

“We have not been able to find these minerals because we are using archaic material. We beg the authorities to let us continue the activity. The little we find … allows us to feed the families of the employees estimated at dozens,” they urge.

Other sources in the province say that the authorities suspect the cooperatives of selling the minerals abroad, without specifying the country. However, Cibitoke province borders Rwanda to the north and the DRC to the west.

The interested parties reject the allegations.

The closure of 17 out of 21 cooperatives cannot be without consequences, according to local observers.

“[…], in just three days, cases of theft in fields have multiplied. Certainly former miners are thinking of other means of survival. The authority should better see how to settle the case” , our sources suggest.

Last December, President Neva warned mineral extraction companies and cooperatives, accusing them of “filling their pockets to the detriment of the state”.

“It is I who will analyze the contracts relating thereto. I will act as a lawyer myself. You always brandish the principle of continuity of the State, who deceived you that the continuity of the State works in the wrong?” threatened President adding “be ready to be eliminated instead of the country, under my responsibility, to sink into chaos”.

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