Hamed Wardak on Female Miners
Hamed Wardak Speaks

Fura Gems is hiring women to work on large emerald mines. Workers have searched the World’s biggest emeralds since the Spanish conquistadors took control of the mines from indigenous people.

Based out of the Middle East, Fura Gems bought mining rights to the Coscuez deposit. The company plans to build several new mining facilities. The project will create thousands of jobs and give many people a chance to earn a living wage and receive health insurance.

However, moving the mining industry in Colombia into a new era may be difficult. Fura Gems will operate in a remote area known for its steep mountains. The area is also inhabited by violent mobs. Fura Gems CEO Dev Shetty says that the company strives to change the outlook of the mining sector. The company is hiring a record number of female employees. Fura Gems also plans to set up a gem washing plant operated by women. Female employees will perform tasks using machines powered by women. Female security guards will oversee the plant. Fura Gems is proud that over 10% of their total workforce is female.

The female employees work eight-hour shifts for an above-average salary. The job has provided financial security to many women. Many emeralds have started to erode, due to the lack of updated technology. Colombia emeralds are very valuable because of their color. According to Colombia’s National Mining Agency, Colombia’s emeralds are more expensive and harder to find now.

Dev Shetty believes that foreign capital is the key to stimulating the sector. Owners of Emerald mining licenses recognize the urgency to capitalize on the business. Fura Gems will compete with Mineria Texas Colombia. The Colombian government is seeking more foreign investors.

The government is hopeful that creating a reliable supply will help stabilize the market. There is also hope that industrial mining will help attract new buyers. Fura Gems plans to dig a large tunnel that will generate over 400,000 carats per year.

However, there are still potential hurdles in regards to the plan. Fura Gems has to renew its mining license. Also, Fura Gems must continue looking for investors. There are still questions about the economy, as many miners prefer to sell what they find to locals in exchange for food. Some citizens are very concerned. Fura Gems has started to block some miners from having access to the tunnels in Coscuez. Some citizens believe that Fura Gems may completely close the tunnels. Some locals have started preparations to eventually protest.

Independent miners, known as a guaqueros, working outside a mine in the Boyaca department, Colombia, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.Photographer: Federico Rios / Bloomberg

Regardless of what happens, many Coscuez residents believe that they will find a way to make ends meet.