Women miners petition AU for support

Lusaka- Zambia (PANA) -- Women miners grouped under the continental body known as the African Women in Mining Network have appealed to heads of state and government now meeting in Sirte, Libya to support them with capital and equipment.
Namakau Kaingu, who is coordinator of the network in Southern Africa, suggested on Monday that leaders of the continent now meeting in Libya ought to put into action what they visualised at the time NEPAD (the New Partnership for Africa's Development) was being created.
She declared that African women were ready to seize the opportunities now obtaining in the mining industries of their countries but this they could not do without adequate investment capital and heavy machinery required in mining.
Kaingu observed that for a long time now governments on the continent had routinely promised women miners capital and support of equipment but so far nothing concrete has been seen even though in some cases foreign governments were willing to support small-scale women miners with funding and machinery.
Most women of the continent now engaged in mining are predominantly in the gemstone sector where mining can be undertaken even with the most rudimentary of tools.
But Kaingu notes that even though capital requirements were less heavy than those for the exploitation of base metals like copper those involved still needed support with such skills as training in gemmology and the marketing of semi-precious and precious stones.
The women miners do require additional training in conservation of the environment, mining safety and preservation of the health of their workers who actually dig out the stones and crack them out of unwanted rocks.
Apart from being on the board of the African Women in Mining Network, Kaingu is also pioneer in the formation of an umbrella grouping for women miners in her home country of Zambia.

05 july 2005 08:58:00

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