FURA Gems (TSXV:FURA) (OTC:FUGMF) has announced the launch of an all-female wash plant team at the Coscuez emerald project in Boyacá, Colombia, a first for both the gemstone industry and the mining sector.
The Toronto-listed firm made the announcement during a presentation at the Second World Emerald Symposium, Bogota, which outlined the company's CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects.
The group noted that traditionally, women in West Boyaca have contributed to emerald mining as ‘barequeras’, washing tailings to find rough emerald, but until now had only been employed for formal work in areas such as general services - kitchen and cleaning - at the Coscuez Emerald Mine.
It said the decision to launch the All-Female Wash Plant project was made on the back of findings from the Fura Socialization Program, in which women expressed their desire to take a more active role in emerald mining and sought employment from FURA Gems.
The company said it is planning on installing a new wash plant at the mine, which will have the capacity to process up to 100 tonnes per hour or 240,000 tonnes per annum.
The new plant is expected to be operational by the first-quarter of 2019, Fura said, adding that it will require a minimum of 30 women to run it.
Dev Shetty, President & CEO of Fura, commented: "We are delighted that local women in Coscuez are contributing in such a vital way to the work of Fura Gems.”
He added: "The all-female wash plant reflects our commitment to the development and empowerment of women through professional and personal growth, as well as of communities as a whole."