The maiden edition of Women in Mining Nigeria’s Gold and Gemstones Conference and Exhibition hosted by its Lagos Chapter held on the 4th and 5th of November 2022 at the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos. The event, which had the theme, “Unveiling Nigerian Gold and Gems to the World”, was conceived to serve as a meeting point for stakeholders and players in the nation’s burgeoning Gold and Gemstones industry, while showcasing the nation’s abounding potentials to the rest of the world.
The event was heavily attended by crucial stakeholders within the public and private sectors, as well as civil society organisations. Representing the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Permanent Secretary Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade noted that the intention of government is to provide the environment that will support the growth of a private sector-led solid mineral sector. She noted that the initiative by the Lagos Chapter of Women in Mining is in line with that commitment, adding that government, through the ministry, will continue to give its support.
Delivering her opening remarks, President of Women in Mining Nigeria, Engr Janet Adeyemi made the point that Nigeria must begin to create an identity around its gold gemstone, and jewellery products. Speaking about the role of women, she explained that the gold and gemstone subsectors are two of the areas where Nigerian women are most represented, especially because of the Nigerian woman’s natural affinity for gold and gemstone jewelleries.
“What we’re doing here today is to create a platform where newbies and interested entrants into the sector can meet with long-time players and learn from them. We’re also establishing great connections between sellers and buyers, while showcasing the many opportunities that people can take advantage of”, she said. Engr Adeyemi noted that the visibility that such conferences offer is important to move the sector to the next level, and Women in Mining Nigeria will continue to play a role in advancing the course of mining, especially where women are concerned.
Other participants at the event include the Project Coordinator of the World Bank-assisted Mineral Sector Support for Economic Diversification (MinDiver) project, leaders and members of Miners Association of Nigeria, renowned gold and gemstones miners and jewellery makers, members of WIMIN from different parts of the country, and other individuals and groups.
Some resolutions reached at the end of the two-day engagement include the need for government to collaborate with Women in mining in Nigeria for coordinated efforts towards women inclusion in the various value chains of mining and gemstones, and to encourage public-private partnership, but where existing, should be deepened, to resolve complexities and challenges faced in the industry, and to encourage the participation of more interested individuals in the industry.
The call for gender equity was also heralded loudly as Women in Mining Nigeria charged all stakeholders to understand and attend to labour and employment related issues in the industry, especially as they relate to women, to enable the country produce more women in leadership positions in the industry, who can contribute to development of workable policies and their implementation. Furthermore, WIMIN restated its commitment to continue to advocate for gender inclusive policies across the different tiers of government, for more participation and development of women in the mining industry.