By A Correspondent| An emerging women miner in Shamva, Mashonaland Central is has implored government through the ministry of mines and mining development to support small scale miners with a budget towards offering loans and equipment so that they can play a part towards unlocking the US$12 Billion sector revenue by 2023.
In an interview with this publication, Mwanawevhu, real name Shantel Mnangagwa says she is upbeat about the prospects of success considering that despite the challenges she is facing, she has been able to employ 400 to 500 youths at her 200 hectares mining claim in Shamva while her average production at the moment between 300 and 500 grams.
Mwanawevhu said her goal is to help eradicate poverty in Mashonaland central while also helping the country economically through unlocking mineral value.
She however said her mining business has not been smooth especially considering that she is a woman, doing it on a small scale and also as a new kid on the block.
“I am mining gold in Umfurudzi game park, I started my mining in December 2019 and what I can say is that mining is not easy, it’s a bit tough especially for us young women,” said Mwanawevhu.
“Sometimes I employ 400 to 500 youths at my mine and it makes me happy since I am trying to eradicate poverty in my area by creating employment for my fellow youths,” she added.
Mwanawevhu is currently producing an average of 300 grams of gold per month which she supplies to Fidelity Refiners.
“The quantities of gold I have been selling to Fidelity, for the past three months, I can say an average of 300 to 500 grams per month,” she said.
Mwanawevhu confided in this publication that the secret to her relative success has been her ability to work with local leadership including traditional leaders whom she acknowledged have helped her to circumvent cultural issues associated with the trade.
“Since 2019 when I started mining in Shamva, I have been working quite well with local chiefs including Chief Munyaradzi Nyamaropa who assisted me with chivanhu chemu area.
“I also work nicely with Chief Mushowani, he gives us youths from his area to work with, I also work with the area councillor, youth leadership from the party,” added Mwanawevhu.
She added that it is her goal to take youths away from illicit drugs by ensuring that they are gainfully employed and are occupied.
It is my goal to stop youths from taking illicit drugs such mutoriro and many other dangerous drugs which are currently wreaking havoc in the country, I have seen that it is possible and I am determined to even employ more and more youths.
“I am also worried about the menace of crime within the mining sector which has seen the emergence of mashurugwi and those mabhembas, mining in Zimbabwe should be a safe space for everyone including us women, so I am playing my part and it is my hope that more and more people who are in mining fight this menace,” she added.
As part of giving back to the community, Mwanawevhu is also assisting orphans in Shamva with school fees and uniforms.
She is looking forward to increasing her production and has currently set her sight at supplying Fidelity Gold Refiners with up to three kilograms of gold per month, a feat she said will only be possible if the government funds the ministry of mines and mining development.
“I can increase production it’s just that at the moment, we don’t have bigger equipment, we need bigger excavators, my claim is a mountainous area so we are trying to work manually sometimes hiring excavators here and there.
“I would appreciate very much if we can get assistance from the ministry of mines and mining development to loan us equipment such as excavators, dumper trucks and tipper trucks, I know if we get equipment, we will be able to increase our production,” she said.
Mwanawevhu urged other women who want to venture into mining to be strong and brave as the sector is still unattractive to women due to societal attitude with men still thinking that it is only for them only.
“Mining sector is quite difficult for us women, we have so many problems, sometimes if you manage to get a lucrative claim with any mineral be it gold, limestone, copper, you face challenges with men trying to grab your claim, men still think mining is only for them,” she said.
Chief Nyamaropa told ZimEye that they are working well with Mwanawevhu who has employed hundreds of young people from his area.
“From the time she came here, we never had a problem with her, she is helping us a lot and has taken a lot of our youths to work at her mine,” said Chief Nyamaropa.
Zanu PF Youth chairperson for Shamva, George Chamunorwa supported Chief Nyamaropa saying the bulk of villages in Shamva are benefitting from Mwanawevhu’s mining activities.
“Our youths from Magazi 1, Zvomanyanga, Mukwari, Nyamhondoro, Gato and even Chakonda are working at Mwanawevhu’s mine, what more would we want. We have been empowered because this is employment creation which is part of the new dispensation’s vision,” said Chamunorwa.
Mwanawevhu urged young people to join the mining sector and contribute towards the economic development of the country.
“I urge young people to join the mining sector, our country has plenty of mineral resources be it gold, limestone, copper and many others, lets be involved, lets not just wait for government but play our part,” she concluded.