THE Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) has called on the Government to set up mobile clinics in mining areas to help vaccinate miners so that they can positively contribute to the country’s target to turn the mining sector into a US$12 billion industry by 2030.
In an interview with Sunday News Business, ZMF national secretary for women affairs Mrs Jescah Mazivazvose said some miners were being ignorant of the Covid-19 and were not adhering to World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 regulations.
“Miners both men and women are ignorant of the Covid-19, they do not adhere to WHO regulations with most of them not even wearing masks. They think that the pandemic only affects those living in urban areas and they are spared.
“They lack the right knowledge and that is why as female miners we are calling upon the Government to visit mining areas and educate people about the Covid-19 pandemic and at the same time bring mobile clinics to vaccinate the miners,” said Mrs Mazivazvose.
She said that a large percentage of miners were not vaccinated due to ignorance and the fact that vaccination points were far and needed to be decentralised.
Mrs Mazivazvose said vaccination of miners will help revive the mining sector that has been severely affected by the pandemic and preserve lives that can immensely contribute towards the Government achieving its goals.
“Getting miners to be vaccinated will ease the way of doing business and preserve lives giving female miners as well a chance to participate and contribute towards the 2023 vision of making the mining sector a US$12 billion industry,” said Mrs Mazivazvose.
She said female miners were of paramount importance in making sure that gold mined was delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.
“As women we have transparency and integrity. We do not use the illegal markets and we try by all means to deliver our gold through the right channels.”
She said women in the mining sector continue to face a number of challenges.
“Government should consider allocation of claims to women so that we can have our own space to work without disturbances. Working in male-owned claims is very difficult looking at the percentage we get after all the hard work we would have put in,” she said.
Mrs Mazivazvose said as some Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) have now been reserved for artisanal miners, it was their hope that Government would consider women first so that they could at least have their own claims.
Meanwhile, she commended the Government and ZMF for trying to make the mining sector a bearable place for women in the mining industry.
“I would love to thank our Government for the effort they are putting in the process of helping women in the mining industry. Loans provided by the Government have been helpful to a number of women although we are asking that they ease the terms to accessing
“I also want to thank ZMF for doing a good job for miners, women included and president Ms Henrietta Rushwaya for making sure that women in the mining sector are catered for.”
Mrs Mazivazvose said through ZMF, women miners were getting loans coming from different banks, while the Women’s Bank was offering equipment to female miners.
As one of the beneficiaries, she said she was offered a compressor to aid her mining activities.
However, Mrs Mazivazvose said women in the mining sector have continued to face challenges in trying to remain relevant in the male dominated industry.
She said for a long time, most women miners are considered as incapable of doing what men in the industry are doing.
“Women miners have not been spared by the Covid-19 pandemic with most of them failing to remain afloat in business due to challenges brought about by the pandemic and vandalism caused by the machete gangs during the total lockdown period,” she said.