The Cooperative Miniere Kababara-Gikindo (COMIKAGI) was founded in 1986 in Ruli sector of Gakenke district in Rwanda’s Northern Province and participates in the ITSCI programme for more than 10 years. With 1,700 workers, including members of the administration, contractors, diggers, washers, and transporters, COMIKAGI is today a large cassiterite and tantalite mineral producer in Rwanda which has contributed to community development by investing in mining communities both as an employer of local people and a driver of economic activity.
Throughout the years, ITSCI’s guidance was critical to COMIKAGI’s activities and growth. Our team of experts in Rwanda continuously provided advice through due diligence workshops and regular site visits. ITSCI’s joint visits and training activities in partnership with the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB) contributed to the overall evolvement of COMIKAGI, especially when it comes to traceability and due diligence in line with laws and regulations in Rwanda, the OECD due diligence guidance, health and safety and best practices in mining. This support fostered progressive improvement in the cooperative’s operation, management and investment in responsible business, leading to positive impact on both the company’s activities and the local communities.
In 2019, the cooperative built a conference and exhibition area called ‘Salle Polyvalente‘ with all the space and facilities providing the possibility for local communities to gather for events and social activities. COMIKAGI also rehabilitated roads to facilitate access to Ruli sector and renovated classrooms in the local primary school ‘Ecole Primaire de Gikingo’ to help regenerate better and more high-quality learning spaces for children. To improve local communities’ wellbeing, COMIKAGI employees are encouraged to enrol in the voluntary social health insurance programme called ‘Mutuelle de Santé’ set by the cooperative, and the majority of workers are covered by a compensation insurance plan.
Besides the support provided to local communities, COMIKAGI is also a prominent example of good practice when it comes to gender balance in the mining sector. One of the leading positions is held by a woman, Mrs. Nyirahabimana Colette, who is the Vice President of the cooperative and a role model for women working with the cooperative. Mrs. Nyirahabimana stated: ‘I am very proud of COMIKAGI’s outstanding achievements in the mining sector. We have an administration system that ensures compliance with rules and regulations and appreciate the support ITSCI provides with mineral traceability and due diligence. We always strive to improve our activities and work hard to support local communities’ livelihoods. Women at COMIKAGI are hardworking and we will always do our best to support them and all our workers’.
COMIKAGI’s progressive growth, fostered by better due diligence practices over the last decade, is enabling further business development in Gakenge district. With ITSCI’s ongoing support, the cooperative is working towards modernisation by developing infrastructures, including modern tunnels and shafts to help miners easily extract and transport ores. Last year, COMIKAGI purchased an excavator machine to help create practicable roads to mine sites and facilitate dumping site management. The excavator will also facilitate road construction throughout the sector. The ITSCI team in Rwanda will continue to hold regular visits to COMIKAGI sites to provide guidance and risk management support in line with the OECD recommendations.