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Fura Announces All-Female Wash Plant Project

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TORONTO, ONTARIO – Fura Gems Inc. (TSXV: FURA, OTC: FUGMF and FRA: BJ43) (“Fura Gems” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the launch of an all-female wash plant team at the Coscuez emerald project in Boyacá, Colombia (the “Coscuez Emerald Mine”).

Key Highlights

  • At  the  second World  Emerald  Symposium  held  in  Bogota,  October  2018,  Fura  Gems launched its All-Female Wash Plant project, possibly the first of its kind, not only in the gemstone industry, but also in the mining sector;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • One  of  Fura  Gems’  first   actions  after  acquiring  the  Coscuez  Emerald  Mine  was  the recruitment  of  employees,  with  special  emphasis  on  women  barequeras  or  those dedicated to artisanal mining;
  • Candidates  were  assessed  according  to  their  knowledge,  skills,   abilities,  attitude, motivation, interest regarding the various resources required, and proved their ability to learn the required skills to a level of competency;
  • The  women  working  in  the  wash  plant  completed  a  safety  and  mining  competencies course, ran by Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) in their initial months at Fura Gems.  They have also been trained to wash, sort and grade on a temporary washing facility, preparing them for the new and modernised installation;
  • The Company is planning on installing a new wash plant, 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 Q1 2019;
  • The new plant will require a minimum of 30 women to run it;
  • Roles will include: material feeding, picking, loading, recording, security and pump and equipment managing, as well as electrical repairs will be carried out entirely by women; and,
  •  The  Company  will  organise  their  training  in  these  competencies  to  promote  further professional growth, skill development and empowerment for local women.

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. They have been continuously demonstrating their skills and competence at Coscuez, and  in  doing  so,  they  are  promoting  a  cultural  transformation  that  challenges  the  previous perception of their role in mining.”

“We believe women in West Boyacá are a pillar of society in the area and that these opportunities help reflect the vital, strong and active role women continue to play within their local communities. It is exciting to hear them talking about their jobs at the Coscuez Emerald Mine with so much pride and dedication.”

“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.”

All-Female Wash plant

During  Fura  Gems’  presentation  at  the  Second  World  Emerald  Symposium,  Bogota,  which outlined the Company’s CSR projects, the All-Female Wash Plant project was launched.

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  project  is  in  line  with  the  Company’s  commitment  to  champion  women  and  support  the community  as  a  whole  as  per  the  recommendations  of  the  Socialization  Program  developed immediately after acquisition, as well as the constant interactions between the community and the  Company’s  Sustainability  Team,  during  which  the  strong  desire  of  women  to  grow  within society and mining became evident.

The Company already employs women in administrative roles, general services,  cooking and training on the trial washing facility. However, the Company wants to continue promoting women participation and develop a series of initiatives, starting with the All-Female Wash plant.

The female trainees for the new wash plant have completed an industry health and safety course which included mining competences. This course was developed together by Fura Gems and the Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA), a government body dedicated to training.

Candidates  were  chosen  according  to  the  Company’s  recruitment  policy,  and  throughout  the course, they were tested according to knowledge, skills, abilities, attitude, motivation, and interest on  the  various  topics  required.  On  completion,  candidates  are  awarded  a  certificate  which  is recognized  nationwide,  promoting  skill  development  for  women  and  validating  their  empirical knowledge.

The  Company’s  intention  is  to  empower  women,  strengthen  their  role  in  the  community  and provide their families with a reliable income. The All-Female Wash Plant project enables women to demonstrate to the younger generation the opportunities that are available to them, which are broader than simply becoming barequeras.

The financial benefits to the communities that women are able to bring through formal, regular work  and  fair  salaries  goes  beyond  the  family  unit  and  into  the  community  at  large.  The transformation in terms of confidence also spreads through the community, offering young women in particular, the encouragement to play an active role in their own personal and professional development.

Furthermore, the entire wash plant chain, including material feeding, picking, driving, recording, security and pump and electrical management will be carried out by women. All of the women who have been trained so far will be included in the team for the All-Female Wash Plant, which are expected to start using the new equipment in Q2 2019. New team members will be recruited according to their past experience, attitude, aptitude and perceived needs. Ongoing performance assessments and training will be offered to the women, as well as continuous updates in training for health and safety, to ensure legal requirements are met.

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