300 women get mining rights

HARARE - Three hundred mining claim rights have been issued to women miners from Guruve for gold claims with a total of 2 000 hectares, The Zimbabwean can now exclusively reveal.

The Guruve women are from a holding company known as Ruvheneko Mineral Resources (Private) Limited which was established in 2006.

“We began as Harare Women Miners Association under the then Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, targeting women at grassroots level,” a spokeswoman for the company said in an interview on the sidelines of the three-day business and political conference.

“It has now spread its membership to almost all provinces of Zimbabwe. We could be more than 3 000 members right now.”

She said her company was set up to help women “become empowered through mining activities”.

“We also have fully established mines beginning with Guruve,” she said. “Our mission is to instil a business mind in women and to agitate for women’s mining rights.”

The move comes at a time when Zimbabwe’s mining industry is still trying to regain its international status after most mines were closed last year for various reasons including lack of finance, dilapidated equipment and low international prices.

The controversial Indigenisation Act passed last year by government has, however, dampened the hopes of mainly international investors in mining.

The investors are afraid that the cash-strapped government will grab their mines as happened with more than 4 500 white commercial farmers had their properties “grabbed” during the 2000 “land grab period”.

“We want to be bigger than Rio Tinto,” the enthusiastic female mining boss said in the interview at her stand outside the conference proceedings.

Rio Zimbabwe Limited (Rio) is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and has a market capitalisation of $53 923 626.00. Its share price currently stands at $2,518.

“We, however, are facing numerous challenges such as lack of mining equipment, including compressor sets because as we only have two at the moment. We need an investor for this project. We also need ballmills, excavators, water pumps, and generators. We employ local people both men and women peg and register claims for local women in Guruve. We intend to improve roads, schools, clinics, sponsor soccer teams in the area, as well as provide entertainment as part of our social responsibility projects.”

She said minerals mined included chrome, gold, platinum, copper, silver and coal.

“Women can increase Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) because minerals are a direct foreign currency earner. Mining can also help us reduce poverty among women and children, the whole family and the entire nation, she added.

“The miners are situated on the horseshoe Great Dyke area rich in several minerals, but gold is the only one being mined at the moment.”

The women acquired mining rights in the form of gold claims with a total of about 3 000 hectares today.

The project was inspired by scientist Olivia Muchena, the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Employment Development.

Muchena has a mine on her farm secured under President Robert Mugabe’s “controversial” Land Acquisition Programme begun in 2000.

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