There are no two ways to say it – mining has a bad reputation. From chronic illness, cancer, and premature death to forced labor and modern-day slavery—and let’s not forget those billions of dollars going to fuel bloody wars and conflict in production zones. If you’re a compassionate individual, it’s enough to put you off even considering a gemstone, gold, or other precious metals.
Why Do “Conflict Diamonds” Exist?
Blood diamonds, conflict diamonds are the product of human rights abuses in many countries around the world, but most notably in Africa. Many of these countries are fraught with war and strife. However, they possess rich mineral resources and vast potential to prosper – a feature that does not go unexploited. Rebel factions fighting against their governments leverage these riches to fund their interests. The greedy are always ready to twist a situation to their advantage, despite the far-reaching cost to humanity and the environment.
Unfortunately, the divide between rich and poor in these countries is vast. It’s not unusual for children to be denied an education and sent to work in the mines to support their families. There are no safety regulations, no worker’s rights, and very little pay for the back-breaking work that fans the flames of conflict. In 2006, the film Blood Diamond brought the situation to the world’s attention, but there were already efforts underway to “stop the bleeding.”