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Rwanda introduces guidelines on mining amid COVID-19

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Rwanda has released preventive guidelines for mining operators to take measures against the novel coronavirus, local media reported Friday.

“We want to ensure that they are protected from infection in the workplace, and this will also help the community where they live,” The New Times daily quoted Francis Gatare, the head of the country’s Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board, as saying.

“This virus is deadly but the good news is that it’s preventable,” Gatare said in the statement.

The guidelines request operators provide personal protective equipment to employees, prevent overcrowding in enclosed spaces and implement suggested measures on tunnel ventilation and testing.

The mining sector in the East African country employs roughly 100,000 people, but has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic due to precautionary restrictions and supply chain disruptions, according to the report.

In May, the Rwandan Government announced plans for the sector’s recovery which included the re-organization and merging of small-scale operators to form collective mining investment groups.

Rwanda has confirmed a total of 410 coronavirus cases so far, along with two deaths, according to figures compiled by the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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