15 February 2024

Diversity and inclusion takes a leap forward at Kagem

The Lufwanyama-based emerald mine is proudly incorporating more female heavy machinery operators into its workforce – demonstrating its commitment to strive towards equal opportunity.


Since 2022, when the first four females took the reins as heavy equipment operators, numbers have risen with a total of 14 women now occupying this role at Kagem. Gender equality is a principle important to Kagem Mining and to its parent company, Gemfields, who are committed to ensuring that mining operations always bring benefit to the host country.

Kagem’s general manager Adriaan Prinsloo summed up the importance of this development. “Kagem aims to not only promote gender equality, but also to demonstrate our commitment to striving to provide equal opportunities for all. Having more women as heavy machinery operators further diversifies our workforce and brings a fresh perspective to our operations,” he said.

Kagem is committed to continuing to provide comprehensive training for women aspiring to break into this field, having seen the need for female-centric tuition as more women seek to embark on careers in mining.

Joyce, a recently trained articulated dump truck (ADT) driver at Kagem, spoke of the challenges she has faced in fulfilling her dream, saying: “Most companies were wary of a woman wanting to work as an ADT operator. This led to a lack of opportunities for me, and negatively affected my ability to fend for my big family.”

Esther, an excavator operator at Kagem, emphasised how important female-focused training, such as that provided by Kagem, is to encourage more women into this kind of work. “I believe there are many women who are willing to take this path, but they may not necessarily have the resources or the support they need to take that leap of faith.”

Constance, an ADT operator, thinks the future is bright for women in this field, provided the resources are there for them. “Upon joining Kagem, I received training that opened my eyes to the vast pool of knowledge I was lacking. The training helped me adapt into my new role.”

These women serve as an inspiration to others, in terms of overcoming obstacles and making their way in a sector not famed for its gender equality. Kagem is proud to be countering gender stereotypes and facilitating a situation where the once unusual sight of women operating heavy machinery will become commonplace. It plans to continue its efforts to improve gender parity in its workforce.

CV Suresh, Managing Director of Kagem, declared: “Kagem continues to strive towards supporting the growth of the mining industry in Zambia, empowering more women to join its team across various departments creating more inclusive opportunities while inspiring future industry players and leaders to bring innovation, diversity and a different perspective to drive the sector forward.”