Discover the dangers faced by workers in Madagascar's illegal sapphire mines. And why inequalities in the global trade of the gems mean others profit most from the miners' work...
- Ilakaka, in the southwest of Madagascar, is one of the world's largest producers of sapphires.
- Sapphires mined in Ilakaka are worth $30 million annually, yet miners earn just $1.50 per day.
- Madagascan gems are bought by international dealers and sold on at massively inflated prices.
- Sapphire mining in Ilakaka is largely unregulated, and tunnel collapses and failures in air supply lead to numerous deaths.
Republic of Madagascar
The town of Ilakaka lies in the south west of Madagascar.
In the early 1990s the town had less than 50 residents.
But within 15 years this population exploded, to almost 60,000.
The reason? The discovery of a large sapphire mine that drew people in their tens of thousands, hoping to ...
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