For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

Mining: Group Launch Loans, Grants Scheme for Women Miners

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

A group on the platform of the Initiative for Women Miners in Africa (IWoMA) has launched the Women Miners Grants and Loans Readiness Project to support women in the mining sector with funding.

IWoMA which is a minerals sector professional pressure group, with its core mandate being to support and facilitate positive changes for women miners across Africa, has urged the social sector workers to increase their interest and efforts in improving the living standards and operational safety of women miners in rural mining communities.

 In a statement signed by Dr Adeola Olajugbagbe, a representative of the group, it stated that the harsh conditions under which women miners work in communities demand more urgent measures, more proactive mitigation actions and greater collaboration among stakeholders.

The statement which quoted IWoMA director and head of the organisation, Dr Comfort Asokoro-Ogaji, while appealing to social workers to take an interest in the mining sector, particularly targeting women miners and children in their intervention efforts noted that a majority of these women will require soft loans to acquire minor mining equipment and safety gadgets, which will increase their profits and as well maintain safe working conditions.

 “This is why IWoMA has launched our Grants and Loans Readiness Project for women NGOs and women-owned artisanal mining (ASM) companies across the states,” she said

“We are committed to this cause and will continue to encourage capacity building for women through our platforms and networks. Hopefully, the miners will start qualifying for loans and grants through this project. We look forward to starting measuring the impacts of the project in the next few months,” she said.

 It was gathered that IWoMA is set to work with local NGOs as an intermediary organisation committed to ensuring the application of Sustainable Development Goal 5 which aims to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls, particularly in the solid minerals sector.

During the Grants Readiness event organised by IWoMA recently in London, a member of IWoMA, Faith Mutete, a gold and lithium woman miner from Zimbabwe, shared her experiences.

She stated that the market is now dominated by foreigners who purchased mineral commodities from her company before but no longer do so because they have established their own machinery and mines. Consequently, she faces the challenge of sourcing funding to boost her production to a level competitive enough to attract buyers in the competitive space with foreign companies. She said she needed to acquire essential equipment such as jaw crushers, gold shaking table and other minor equipment to boost her production as a local miner to compete effectively in the industry.

 Noting that women miners are exposed to various hazards, Dr Adeola stated that they can be empowered through training to expand their scope and venture into broader opportunities such as equipment leasing, ownership and partnerships in mineral processing centres and other relevant value-added services.

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