By Thomas Chidamba in Bulawayo
Mining players must walk the talk with Government in increasing the meaningful participation of women in mining for the purposes of Zimbabwe’s economic development and economic empowerment, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni has said.
In a speech read on her behalf at the women in Mining conference, here today at the ongoing Mine Entra, Minister Nyoni said that it was high time to demystify the mining sector that it was for the elite, rich and powerful.
“The mining sector in Zimbabwe has generally been regarded with mystification as a sector for the white, rich and powerful. This is because mining is associated with high capital investments, big machinery and underground activities.
“For women, the situation is made worse by occupational segregation and lack of access to capital even for the most basic tools,”she said.
Minister Nyoni urged women to explore vast opportunities in the mining sector in order to contribute to achieving the vision of having Zimbabwe become a middle income economy by 2030.
“According to a study commissioned by the Ministry (of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development) in 2016 with support if the World Bank, only 30% of the artisanal gold miners in the small-scale mining sector are women while 80% of the small scale gold and gemstone claims belong to men.
“Women constitute only 7% of the total labour force in the sector. This gloomy picture calls for concerted efforts to be directed towards creating a conducive environment that encourages more women to venture into the formal mining sector.
“I would like to urge key mining players to walk the talk with Government in increasing the meaningful participation of women in mining for the purposes of Zimbabwe’s economic development and economic empowerment,” she said.
Small scale miners are currently contributing around 60% of all the gold that is being delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.