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WomenNews

Govt moves to empower female miners

“Together, let us harness our collective expertise and influence to drive meaningful change and create a brighter future for women in rural mining communities. Let us work together to develop solutions that are grounded in the needs and aspirations of these women.”

GOVERNMENT says it wants the Mines and Minerals Bill to be legislated soon to provide mining title ownership and support for female miners.

In April, female miners pleaded with government and banks to allow them to use mining titles as collateral when applying for loans as they were facing challenges in accessing working capital.

However, one difficulty with this plan is that women, youths and other artisanal miners often clash with other parties over ownership of mining titles.

According to the Mines and Mining Development ministry, for decades, a mining title for a single lucrative site would be issued to multiple applicants, raising doubt about who the true owner is.

Thus, through the Mines and Minerals Bill currently before Parliament, a “mining cadastre” system will be introduced which will install a mining information management system that will administer and track mining titles.

“The government is working flat out with a new system that is called cadastre and to remove all those disputes,” Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines acting chairperson Joseph Mpasi said, during a breakfast meeting last week, held under the theme Empowering Young Women for Community Development and Good Governance.

“So, on that aspect, yes, the government is working on this. It’s under deliberation in Parliament. I will assure you that in the shortest period, you will see a change on the acquisition of mining rights.”

On the issue of loans and collateral, Mpasi said they were working to find a solution to the issue.

“It is something that we need to get proper clarity,” he said.

“But, what I would want to assure you is that the government, through the Mines minister, has an allocation for artisanal miners that is available and awaiting processing to the provinces to channel through mines and artisanal miners will go through that channel and get the loans.”

Mpasi was responding to concerns raised by organisations such as the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association and the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, which revealed that female miners were facing severe challenges in the sector.

It was also revealed that apart from fighting for mining titles, female miners faced sexual abuse, health risks, and lacked education, advocacy and financial inclusion.

These issues were highlighted in a documentary produced by the Rural Young Women Support Network.

Rural Young Women Support Network director Margret Chogugudza urged legislators to come up with policies that ensured safety, protection and promotion of young women in mining.

“Today is a big day for us as an organisation as we are going to present research findings which highlight the urgent need for policy reforms addressing the unique struggles of women in mining host communities,” she said.

“Together, let us harness our collective expertise and influence to drive meaningful change and create a brighter future for women in rural mining communities. Let us work together to develop solutions that are grounded in the needs and aspirations of these women.”

According to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, there are about 50 000 registered small-scale miners in the country who employ at least 10 workers each on average.

Small-scale gold miners, who include women, contribute 60% of the country’s total gold production, making them the largest forex-earning group. – (Newsday)

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