The Centre for Trade Policy and Development has said that it is concerned with the lack of protective clothing for women in the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining sector in Zambia. CTPD Head of Research, Brian Mwiinga notes that although the Artisanal and small- scale mining sector in Zambia has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, most of the miners in this sector work without protective gears thus exposes them to health risks.
In a statement released to the media, Mr. Mwiinga said that CTDP feels that as the country celebrates the growing participation of women in the sector, it is imperative that the challenges affecting the ASM sector in general and more specifically those that have the greatest impact on women and their health should be addressed.
“one feature of the ASM sector in Zambia which is worth paying attention to is the growing presence of women assuming important roles in the sector it is imperative that we pause and address the myriad of challenges that the ASM sector faces in general and more specifically the challenges that have the greatest impact on women and their health”, said Mr. Mwiinga.
Mr. Mwiinga urged the Zambian government through the relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, Ministry of Gender, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Development Planning to focus their energies in addressing the plight of the women who have remained the minority group in the ASM sector. “In addition to the challenge of lack of protective gear, the informal nature of most ASM operations implies that they work in areas that are often not serviced by the local authorities. As a result, these areas of operation usually lack adequate water and sanitation facilities making it another serious health and environmental hazard’’, said Mr. Mwiinga.
He further stressed: CTPD is alive to the fact that the Zambian government made several commitments to addressing the challenges of the ASM sector in general and those women miners at the recent Artisanal Small-scale mining Conference hosted by Zambia in Livingstone and that now is the time for those commitments to be fulfilled so that the nation can start reaping the benefits of the sector.