Women in Gemstones Eye US$1 Billion Industry in Five Years

gemstones

Through the beneficiation and value addition of gemstones, the Women in Gemstones Association in Zimbabwe (WIGAZ) is aiming to establish a US$1 billion gemstone industry within five years.

by Rudairo Mapuranga

WIGAZ, currently collaborating with ActionAid, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ), is optimistic that continuous investment in Women in Gemstones by these organizations will lead to the industry’s growth into a billion-dollar sector within five years.

Speaking to Mining Zimbabwe, WIGAZ Treasurer Ms Stelia Phiri said the organization is also collaborating with Defold Mining Company to formalize gemstone mining by women to ensure maximum benefits.

“We are working with ActionAid and ZELA. We have introduced value addition and beneficiation.

“We are also collaborating with Defold to ensure that illegal gemstone miners are regularized. The first step is to formalize our mines. We are also working with MMCZ to ensure that knowledge about gemstones is spread in Zimbabwe. Gemstones have not been contributing much to the national GDP, but we are working to ensure the industry becomes a billion-dollar sector,” she said.

Ms. Phiri mentioned that through her company, Sastelia Enterprises, she is involved in the value addition of gemstones by creating art paintings adorned with gemstones to provide a natural stone feel.

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She also noted that her company is training youth in cutting, polishing, and value addition.

“We are also training youth to ensure they are empowered in cutting, polishing, and value addition.

“Every stone has value. After cutting our stones, we don’t dispose of the feelings. We use them for art,” Ms. Phiri said.

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