By William Milasi
FEMALE small-scale miners have pleaded for clemency from government on the issue of collateral if they are to realize their full potential in the industry.
Newly elected Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president Henrietta Rushwaya said female miners are failing to realize their full potential in the industry because they do not have collateral.
She pleaded with the mines ministry to allow women use whatever that they might get from underground as collateral.
The ZMF boss is also encouraging women to utilize available funding from government in the sector.
“I encourage women and under privileged especially the youths to capitalize on the money and funding availed by government this will help them produce gold and other minerals.
“It’s high time as women we participate greatly in producing what is expected of us,” Rushwaya said in an interview.
She however, highlighted the issue of collateral as a serious challenge.
“The issue of collateral is a major issue which as women we don’t have. We are therefore making a plea to government to assist us in the issue.
“Can we not use the product that we are going to extract from down under as collateral?” she suggested adding, “Whatever we produce then we can deduct. Let our supply to Fidelity speak for us.
“If we don’t have collateral can the ministry base everything on the mining records and assist us.”
ZMF boss also called for the capacitation of small scale miners in general.
“As long as we don’t know what’s underground mining remains a game of guessing. This is coupled with lack of exploration by small scale miners it makes mining to be very difficult.”
She called on government to introduce the cadastre registration system to avoid pegging disputes.
“The biggest challenge in the mining industry is area pegging and it has been necessitated by the lack of proper data maintaining system within the mines ministry,” she said.
The issue of pegging Rushwaya said has led, “to other challenges of where most women are losing claims to their male counterparts. They are just being elbowed out of the claims simply because they are females.”
Government should also support other minerals besides gold.
“Zimbabwe has more than 32 minerals and government, with its usual support, should also chip in and ensure that the other minerals get due support.
“A lot of attention has been given to gold because its produces to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but given the necessary support other minerals can also contribute to the fiscus,” she said.