Divaney Viveros, a fighter for more equitable mining

with the women of her community

Divaney gets up at 4:00 in the morning to prepare the food that she leaves ready for her family – her two children and her husband – before leaving for the mine entrance.

Around 8:00 in the morning, Divaney, together with the group of women selectors from the Asomuselupaz Association, arrives at the work site where they wait for the miners to unload the material at the mine entrance so they can start grinding, however, in the middle of their wait, the miners do not always arrive with it and, on many occasions, they have to return home empty-handed.

“When there is no material, we return home again, because if there is no unloading then there is no work to do,” explains Divaney. Upon returning home, Divaney continues with the housework and waits for her family to share together the food that she prepares with so much love.

Being a mining woman is not always easy

Divaney always has a smile on her face. She is a sweet woman, loves her work, and considers herself a fighter and capable; she, however, warns that being a woman dedicated to mining brings her disadvantages.

“Being a woman brings many disadvantages because there is still a lot of masculinity cult, but we have shown men that we can, she says.” She explains that in the exercise of her work, although it takes her more time than men to load her material, she still does it and “that is why in the municipality of Suarez, Cauca we have shown that women are capable of much,” she adds.


An association founded by women


Asomuselupaz, Asociación de Mujeres Seleccionadoras y Luchadoras por la Paz, (Association of Women Selectors and Fighters for Peace), was founded in 2017 and is made up of 35 women miners from the municipality of Suarez, in the department of Cauca, Colombia. It was created with the aim of making their work visible, they went from being “scrap dealers”, as they were known at the beginning, to mine ore selectors and, day-by-day, they continue to work to offer a better future to their families.

One of the most outstanding aspects of their process as an association is that they have become empowered in their mining work. Today, they are proud to develop mining with best practices; thanks to the training on gender, health, and safety at work, marketing, and other topics by the Alliance for Responsible Mining. Thanks to this, they have learned to know the price they should get paid for their mine ore when offering it to the formal market and identifying the gold grade.


The opportunities that are yet to come 

Asomuselupaz today has a processing plant that will allow them to process mercury-free mine ore, which means having a higher value gold on the market, explains Divaney.

“This plant represents one of the achievements and goals that we were able to set in the long term, with the help of ARM, UNDP, and the mayor’s office we have it here right now,” says Divaney when talking about the benefits that it brings for your community.


Finally, this woman shares a message for the women miners of her municipality: “They have our doors open whenever they want to come to process their material, here is the plant, we are willing to serve them. This plant is a way to improve our quality of life,” she concludes, because she understands that by processing mercury-free gold, she is contributing to more environmentally responsible mining.


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