By Business Reporter – Monday 15 March 2021
WOMENS MONTH – PROFILES – (Mining Index) – “THE major bottleneck in any mining operation is adequate mining machinery. Without equipment we cannot manage. Lack of proper geological survey is also another setback as traditional survey methods that we use for surveys take time to locate gold reefs,” said Jane Lusinga, one of Zimbabwe’s female miners.
Let us hear Jane Lusinga’s mining journey.
I was the chairperson for the Women in Mining, Bubi District, Matebeleland North province. Whilst l was the chairperson, our association got affiliated to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF).
I was then elevated to the national ZMF structures, becoming a Representative for Matebeleland North. This also saw the Youth in Mining affiliating with the Federation.
Can you tell us your journey into mining?
It was not an easy walk. My father remains my inspiration, my mentor and my teacher whose mining footprints I am following. l observed the challenges he faced as a miner. Using motor and piston for processing proved a herculean task, which made me dislike mining.
And when l lost my husband, l joined my father in 2004 and started mining. It was challenging seeing women panning for gold with babies strapped on their backs.
I developed high hopes for mining, with a need to improve the mining operations. My father linked me to the provincial mining offices where I met a female mining commissioner who assisted me.
I also started networking with other women, learning how we can grow as women miners.
In 2006 during the Chirokoza Chapera operation, I was arrested during the operation and all my mining ventures came to a halt. Sadly, my father also passed away.
I realized the need to acquire an Environmental Management Agency (EMA) certification, which was expensive on my part, and I managed to get certified.
What challenges do you face as a woman miner?
As women, we experience challenges that require courage such that if you are not brave you quit mining.
Women are given names, harassed by police, occasional terror from the machete gangs while insults are our daily bread.
On daily operations, we get unsolicited visits from thugs, a scary development as they have a tendency to follow miners to their homes or in town.
What is the present scale of your mining?
In 2016, l moved into my own two claims and l am using the experience I acquired.
To date, l managed to acquire a ball mill with a crusher and a concentrator. Unfortunately, l was involved in fatal accident that took me three years to recover, but that never stopped me with the support of various associations, including the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA).
What is your vision?
My mining operations where disturbed with the COvid-19 pandemic. However, my vision is to improve and engage skilled personnel in order to reach my dream as widow.
How do you balance your role as a miner with family?
I embraced mining as a business. l take time off to be with my family. I however spend most of the time at the mine.
How many people are you employing?
Currently, I employ 15 people.
What is your advice to women who want to venture into mining?
Mining needs commitment, determination and focus. Mining is a business. Some think mining is a profession designed for men, but I encourage women to remain committed once they venture into mining. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw
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