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Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomeNewsZim Aims to Empower Female Miners Through Mines and Minerals Bill

Zim Aims to Empower Female Miners Through Mines and Minerals Bill

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The government is pushing for the swift legislation of the Mines and Minerals Bill, which aims to provide mining title ownership and better support mechanisms.

Earlier this year, female miners made an urgent plea to the government and financial institutions to accept mining titles as collateral for loans. They face significant hurdles in accessing working capital, a barrier that hinders their operations and growth.

However, the path to this solution is fraught with challenges. Women, youths, and other artisanal miners frequently clash with various parties over mining title ownership. The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development reports that for decades, a single lucrative mining site could be issued to multiple applicants, leading to ongoing disputes about true ownership.

To address these issues, the Mines and Minerals Bill, currently before Parliament, proposes the introduction of a “mining cadastre” system. This system will implement a mining information management framework to administer and track mining titles accurately.

“The government is working flat out with a new system called cadastre to remove all those disputes,” said Joseph Mpasi, acting chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, during a recent breakfast meeting themed “Empowering Young Women for Community Development and Good Governance.” Mpasi assured that the new system would soon change the process of acquiring mining rights.

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Addressing the issue of loans and collateral, Mpasi acknowledged the need for clarity but emphasized ongoing efforts to resolve it. “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,” he said. This initiative aims to channel resources through proper channels, allowing artisanal miners to access loans.

The plight of female miners extends beyond financial barriers. Organizations such as the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association and the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development have highlighted severe challenges faced by women in the sector, including fighting for mining titles, enduring sexual abuse, facing health risks, and lacking education, advocacy, and financial inclusion.

These issues were underscored in a documentary by the Rural Young Women Support Network. Margret Chogugudza, director of the network, urged legislators to craft policies that ensure the safety, protection, and promotion of young women in mining. “Today is a big day for us as an organization 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. She called for collective efforts to drive meaningful change and create a brighter future for women in rural mining communities.

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According to the Zimbabwe Miners Federation, there are about 50,000 registered small-scale miners in the country, each employing at least 10 workers on average. Small-scale gold miners, including women, contribute 60% of the country’s total gold production, making them the largest forex-earning group.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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