By Business Reporter – Sunday 7 April 2019
HARARE (Mining Index) – ZIMBABWE Artisanal and Small-scale Miners Federation (ZASMF) Women’s Quarter has prioritised collaborative formalisation programmes for unregistered women miners through training, technical support, entrepreneurial capacity, access to capital while advocating for allocation of larger mining claims to women in mining.
ZASMF 3rd Vice President, who is also in charge of Women in Mining affairs, Lindi Mpofu said the federation represents women miners in all provinces when implementing its programmes.
ZASMF will play a pivotal role in driving economic, social and environmental progress through innovative initiatives, programs and guidelines for Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) and Small-Scale Miners (SSM) in order to strengthen their contribution to mining, minerals and metals.
“Formalisation assistance, informal women miners cannot comply with the current formalisation requirements without help, creation of women training centres or programmes tied to formalisation commitments and linking formalisation programmes to ethical certification initiatives.”
Efforts to upgrade and formalise the sector are already taking place as evidenced by bold steps taken by ZASMF to form and strengthen strategic alliances with the public and private sector to embrace and empower ASM by designing funding and support structures for them.
Mpofu said her federation shall work closely with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) and the private sector to further the interests of women miners.
ZASMF’s mandate under the Women’s Quarter is to enable all women miners to benefit and be notified of the available programmes and information that will assist them to build sustainable mining operations.
“The need to strengthen women ASM/SSM technical and entrepreneurial capacity, widening access to capital and reliable markets, geological information and awareness on health and safety hazards, efficient, safe and legal access to explosives. These issues continue to adversely affect women operations,” she said.
She called for the promotion and recognition of semi-precious women miners, boosting production and access to proper local and export pricing information and formal trading markets for product.
ZASMF supports transparent and fair relations between women ASM/SSM and mining companies that address social inequalities, secure rights for women miners and protect the human rights of women artisanal and small-scale miners in mining regions.
“Collaborative formalisation programmes between Large-Scale Miners (LSM), ASM and provincial mining authorities that will allow more women ASM/SSM miners to work legally on LSM leases.”
ZASMF formalisation program will also extend to the rest of the mining sector to ensure compliance.
“As a result, artisanal miners are more widely known by the un-progressive elements who have not yet sought to formalize themselves and comply with our nations mining laws. We urge you in this case to follow the Ministry of Mines and Mining Developments legal mine registration process and form legal association structures via ZASMF,” said Mpofu.
Mpofu said like the industry’s successful counterparts in Tanzania, ASM and SSM in Zimbabwe are seeking a Mining Act which will offer more investment protection while facilitating the growth of women ASM and SSM.
“ASM/SSM Women Miners should be protected in the revised Act and such instances or alternative measures for sustainable mining resettlement implemented,” she noted.
She said ZASMF is seeking to collaborate with stakeholders to strengthen the economic, social and environmental performance of the women ASM and SSM to build recognition of their contribution in the mining and metals industry.
ZASMF Women’s Quarter has called on government to further assist with sector and provincial economic growth. “Government should continue to play an active role in resolution to deal with land use conflicts, violence, abuse and safety hazards, and an overall clear commitment to improve women miner conditions.”
“The need for granting exclusive areas for primary licenses to women artisanal miners, also while the allocation of large mining blocks are allocated to foreign multinationals to boost economic development it is necessary that similar sized reserve areas should be allocated for ASM/SSM to enable the implementation of safe and sustainable mining programmes, without such reserve areas and programs for ASM we find ourselves with numerous issues regarding illegal mining, and ASM/SSM resettlement when large-scale miners move into areas especially in the gold sub-sector.”
ZASMF seeks to promote ASM and SSM development by strengthening and enabling certified gold pilot projects with international gold consumers.
“The Promotion of ASM/SSM women chrome miners to access chrome hubs to help with the consolidation, testing and logistics of chrome. Structured partnerships with investors that will assist with boosting production and access to proper local and export pricing.”
“I urge all women miners across the country to come forward, although large numbers have come forward for registration with ZASMF the vast majority of ASM/SSM up until today are not organized into Legal Association structures that will enable local government as well as the private sector to invest and lend full support which in turn would strengthen sector recognition,” she said.
She added that ZASMF will push for properly defined good practice guidelines for contracts and develop model contracts that can be adapted to different situations thereby ensuring greater transparency in LSM-Investor-ASM/SSM relationships in gold, semi-precious gemstones, chrome tributary and independent arrangements.
“I look forward to working with the Women of Zimbabwe along with the Government of Zimbabwe to prioritize women formalisation for ASM/SSM as a great number of women depend on the sector as a form of livelihood. The implementation of the above will greatly uplift vulnerable women mining groups and help incorporate women ASM/SSM into regional priorities,” she said. ENDS//