The president of the Namibian Women in Mining Association, Zenzi Natasha Awases, has been recognised among 100 Inspirational Women in Mining globally. The announcement was made last week during a virtual event celebrated by the Association of Women in Mining in Africa as they celebrated the 2020 Edition of Women in Mining UK’s “100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining” and the 22 Women in Mining selected from Africa
Awases is a geologist with 15 years’ experience exploring and mining a paleo-placer diamond deposit along the southern coast of Namibia.
She actually entered the mining industry by accident, having dreamed of becoming a lawyer, and has found her purpose in reshaping the mining industry to be more diverse and inclusive.
“Once a novice to public speaking, Awases is now a vocal leader, mentor and advocate. She works enormously hard to attract and retain female talent to the industry,” the accolade reads.
Aweses was named founding president of the Women in Mining Association of Namibia in April 2017, and in November 2019, was elected to the Board of the Association of Women in Mining Africa as the representative for Southern Africa.
“Besides braving the strong winds of the Namib Sand Sea while exploring for deflation diamonds and being the only female at an exploration camp with 20 males, I consider being the founding president of the Women in Mining Association of Namibia to be my bravest, most meaningful moment in the mining sector,” says Awases.
The biennial Women in Mining (WIM) 100, which was launched by Women in Mining UK in 2013, highlights the wealth of female talent within the global mining industry, celebrates their “above & beyond” contributions, and identifies role models for future generations.
The 100 women featured in the 2020 edition were selected due to their inspiring contribution towards a stronger, safer and more sustainable mining industry. This includes making positive and impactful changes, advocacy and a desire to empower others, perseverance in the face of adversity, and an ability to find solutions to challenges.
Carole Cable, WIM Chair, said: “There is no shortage of professional, capable women in mining around the world, and by showcasing their stories we hope we will inspire even more women to enter and progress in the industry so we can contribute to responsible and sustainable mining.
Mining is a critical industry that plays an essential role in the world’s transition to a low carbon economy and having a truly diverse and inclusive workforce will be vital to make that happen.”
Alex Buck, WIM UK managing director, said: “The WIM100 book is designed to celebrate the contribution that women make to mining across every aspect of the value chain and across all levels of seniority. Through these amazing stories, we hope to inspire more women to join the industry and demonstrate to a wider group of mining companies, large and small, the value of diversity and inclusion to the long-term success of their business.
“What is particularly interesting about this edition of the WIM100 is the increase in the number of women working in sustainability, responsible sourcing, ethics and artisanal and small-scale mining, which is something that is at the top of the agenda for most investors and society at large. Our hope is that this WIM100 book will go some way to help break the stereotypes about what a miner looks like and will encourage women to pursue a career in mining and at the same time encourage mining companies to acknowledge the breadth of the diverse talent pool.”
Georgette Barnes, AWIMA president added: “This year’s group of WIM100 gives all women along the mining value chain immense hope that it is possible to make a difference. It also gives us all courage to step up, use our knowledge to push for change and to excel in various roles in the industry.”