Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) says Zimbabwe needs more women to get into mining and mine training to balance the male-dominated industry so as to complement the country’s target to turn the mining sector into a US$12 billion industry by 2030.
Women make up 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s 535 000 artisanal and small-scale miners. In an interview with Sunday News, ZMF vice-president and a chrome miner Mrs Lindiwe Mpofu said they have been advocating for various policies with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development with regards to allocating claims for women.
“Women make up more than 10 percent of artisanal and small-scale miners as they are engaged in various mining and processing activities within the mining sector. As ZMF we have been advocating for various policies within the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development with regards to claim allocations, funding availability and streamlined processes targeted at specifically women,” said Mrs Mpofu.
She said there was a need for formalisation of mining operations owned by women and reduction of violence against women in mining so that they could also positively contribute to the US$12 billion mining industry by 2030. Mrs Mpofu also said they were advocating for reserve areas for women in mining, allocation of claims with geological data from receded land from Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) and they were engaging Fidelity Printers and Refiners to review loan initiatives specifically for women.
“We need reduced Rural District Council (RDC) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) fee structures targeted at accommodating women with less financial funding. Above all, we promote the need for training programmes for women miners, promotion of investment to women mining operations, donated machinery and equipment to various women mining groups.”
Mrs Mpofu said there was a need to continue working with the private banking sector and Government to develop programmes for women products in the mining space.
“Solutions have been proffered regarding the introduction of a women’s desk for dispute resolution processing within the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to assist women. Also, local police engagement has been promoted to also assist with various violations carried out against women miners, as well as programmes to assist with land parcels for women miners,” said Mrs Mpofu.
To assist miners reboot operations that were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, ZMF has also requested reductions of mining fees and reprieves for time extension to be introduced to prevent forfeiting of claims as they continue to push for formalisation.
Mrs Mpofu said her organisation would continue carrying out numerous workshops for its members and has a strong working relationship with the Zimbabwe School of Mines where several programmes that include annual free training are available to miners, specifically women.