The Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Muyeba Chikonde and United Kingdom Department for International Trade (DIT) recently met the Association of Zambian Women in Mining (AZWIM) with the aim to promote trade and investment for Zambia-UK mining ventures.
The meeting also targeted exploring potential partners for Women in Mining so that they can increase their production capacity as well as build technical capacity of their organisation to generate value addition of their products
Lusaka Times on Thursday reported that the meeting was facilitated by the Zambia High Commission in London and UK Department for International Trade (DIT) represented by Mining and Infrastructure Specialist Ros Lund, DIT Head of Mining Team Mark Smith while AZWIM was represented by the Association president Mary Lubemba, and senior executive members.
“As a Mission, we are here to translate the President’s call into action by facilitating meetings that will promote trade and investment for Zambia and explore potential partners for Women in Mining so that they can increase their production capacity as well as build technical capacity of their organisation to generate value addition of their products,” said Chikonde, reiterating President Edgar Lungu’s call to help women in small scale mining upscale and mechanize their operations in order to contribute to the socio-economic growth of the country.
“Artisanal small scale mining is essential for the country’s development especially in the eradication of poverty, as it has the capacity to generate employment for the many Women and Youths and contribute to the country’s economic growth.”
Lund said DIT was able to facilitate access to its data base of companies who are involved in precious/semi-precious stones to help AZWIM access a wider value chain.
She added that DIT can explore the potential of promoting the establishment of an environmentally friendly Gold smelting facility in order to process raw gold.
Lund who introduced AZWIM to the International Women in Mining urged AZWIM to unite with other mining associations around the world and come up with best practices that will protection their mines from illegal mining which is detrimental to their growth.
AZWIM President Mary Lubemba thanked High Commissioner Chikonde for organising the meeting. She said AZWIM had over 300 members and majority of the members were facing challenges such as, lack of access to affordable capital, equipment and lack of necessary skills in the extractive industry.
Lubemba said the meeting with DIT was timely as AZWIM was exploring the European market for precious/semi-precious stones as well as partners for capacity building.
She said there is huge international demand for Zambian precious/semi-precious stones such as Emerald and Amethyst but that women in the mining sector were not able to meet the demand because of lack of equipment to scale up the means of production beyond a shovel and a pike to increase production and enhance value of their raw products.
AZWIM also met Dr. Dan Hart of Tracks of Peace, a UK registered charity who is eager to work and partner with the women in mining. He is willing to facilitate AZWIM open an office in London that will service Europe.
Dr. Hart is also keen to sign an MOU with AZWIM once the discussions had advanced.