By Business Reporter – Thursday 4 March 2021
WOMENS MONTH – PROFILES – (Mining Index) – SELLING mining equipment has traditionally been considered a masculine job. But Rudo Sarah Muzamani, sales manager at Appropriate Technology Africa (ATA) has defied the odds, to become a force to reckon with in the provision of mining equipment and services for the mining sector.
‘I feel humbled and honored for being part of the Women in Mining celebrations. After working with women miners for close to two decades, an industry that was dominated by men, but by God’s grace we have risen above expectations and achieved a new momentum in reaching a goal we should embrace,’ she said while celebrating women’s month.
What have you done to improve women in mining?
When l started selling mining equipment at a very young age, l realized most women in mining, including our stakeholders were professionals. I decided to attain a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Business Administration (MBA) as my job involved an interaction with miners, financial sectors and Government departments in order to deliver the best service. The skill set boosted my confidence, competence and capability in selling mining equipment to women miners within and out of Zimbabwe.
Most prospecting miners would come not just to buy mining machines but seeking guidance on how to start and prospect for different minerals. We started selling mining books, explaining the whole mining process.
The Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) and Mining lndaba periodically invited us to their exhibitions to showcase our mining equipment and took advantage to acquire more knowledge of the mining industry at large while interacting with women miners from different walks of life.
For women miners who needed guidance on procedures of registering mines before purchasing mining equipment, we referred them to Ministry of Mines to be guided in accordance with the mining regulations.
Women also came to enquire on mining equipment. Although they had no sponsors, partners and inadequate funds, we facilitated them to link up with the Gold Development Initiative Funds, a scheme offered by Fidelity Printers and Refiners (FPR) for financial assistance. FPR was always ready to help the new and existing women miners. This facility did not only benefit women in mining but increased our sales revenue.
As a Sales Manager who knows the needs for miners in general, l always make sure we have adequate equipment to supply all the time and that includes the back-up spares and accessories in order to meet miners’ demands.
Through my 20 years of experience in dealing with miners and expertise, l am able to advise my customers (women in mining) on the appropriate equipment to buy depending on the mineral explored and rock type depending on the geographical mining area of exploitation. My expertise has helped miners save money as some were being charged consultant fees for that knowledge.
What challenges have you faced?
In the early years of selling mining equipment, l faced serious gender discrimination. Both men and women in mining would underestimate my knowledge of technical aspects fearing inaccuracy.
I kept believing in myself until l built a huge clientele base that believed in me. That is how l conquered the fears. I also managed to rise to train my male counterparts on how to sell equipment. l always feel honored as a woman to see both men and women in mining being referred to me for more detailed technical specifications on mining machinery which was very unusual in the early 2000s.
The major challenge in selling mining equipment is lack of funds despite the Gold Development Initiative Funds standing in the gap. Some women who are interested in mining equipment may fail to meet minimum requirements to qualify for loans due to lack of collateral. I encourage women to keep searching for bona fide sponsors for mining machines. I also encourage women to hire equipment from other fellow miners as we do not offer credit facilities.
What pushed you to be biased towards working with women miners?
Being in the industry for a long time, l realized that most women were or some are still skeptical about joining the mining industry. I feel motivated to encourage women through the knowledge of mining business l have acquired over these years.
I also believe in women knowing we can change the world by entering in mining industry and improve wealth for the nation, supplementing our family incomes and poverty alleviation as well as fighting the dependency syndrome.
Women inspire me to do better things that l pray and hope that when l live ATA one day, l may break new grounds by being able to start my own company of supplying mining equipment through the experience that l have gained over the years and the exposure l now have in the mining industry.
What is your message of inspiration to that woman who want to get in the mining sector?
With rising unemployment, l encourage women to start their own business by venturing into mining, an industry which does not even consider any academic qualifications but simply needs your focus, determination, patience to trust the process and hard working.
Lack of funds is not an excuse as financial sectors are offering loan facilities to finance mining projects.
Mining is a joy and inspiration considering that it is an industry that does not only earn you income but contribute so much to economic growth and development of our country and employment creation.
Mining industry plays a major role in improving wealth for the nation and as women we are empowered to change the world.
Our innate potential is being recognized as women in the mining industry, we can do greater things and reach desired milestones. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw
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