These women are at Fura Gem’s training wash plant at the Coscuez emerald mine. They will be employed at the forthcoming all-female wash plant.
Toronto—Fura Gems has launched a project it believes is the first of its kind in the mining sector: an all-female wash plant.

The company announced the endeavor at the recent Second World Emerald Symposium in Bogota, Colombia, where it outlined its corporate social responsibility projects.

Women in Boyacá, Colombia, where the Coscuez emerald mine is located, have traditionally contributed to emerald mining as “barequeras,” washing tailings to find rough emeralds. And until now, Fura has only formally employed women at Coscuez for work in administrative roles, general services and cooking.

The company said the decision to launch the project came as a result of findings from its Fura Socialization Program, in which women expressed interest in taking a more active role in emerald mining and employment with the miner.

Fura plans to install a new wash plant with the capacity of processing up to 100 tons per hour or 240,000 tons per year. It’s slated to be operational by the first quarter of 2019.

The new plant will require a minimum of 30 women to run it, with roles including material feeding, picking, loading, recording, security, pump and equipment managing and electrical repairs.

Fura is organizing training in all of these areas, and some women have already completed a safety and mining competencies course run by the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje.

They also have been trained to wash, sort and grade on a temporary washing facility to prepare them for the new and modernized installation.

All of the women trained so far will be included in the team for the all-female wash plant, Fura said. New team members will be recruited according to their past experience, attitude, aptitude and perceived needs.

Ongoing performance assessments also will be offered, as well as continuous updates in training for health and safety to ensure legal requirements are met.

“We are delighted that local women in Coscuez are contributing in such a vital way to the work of

Fura Gems. They have been continuously demonstrating their skills and competence at Coscuez, and in doing so, they are promoting a cultural transformation that challenges the previous perception of their role in mining,” CEO Dev Shetty said.

“We believe women in West Boyacá are a pillar of society in the area and that these opportunities help reflect the vital, strong and active role women continue to play within their local communities. It is exciting to hear them talking about their jobs at the Coscuez Emerald Mine with so much pride and dedication.”

Fura Gems completed the acquisition of the well-known Coscuez emerald mine in January. It also is mining for rubies in Mozambique.

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