Extraction of sapphires in Madagascar (26 photos)

Until 1998, the population of a small village in Madagascar Ilakaka barely reached 40 people. But in 1998, in line passing near the river were found large deposits of sapphires that caught here a Thai businessman who worked with precious stones. Hearing about this resulted in tens of thousands of Ilakaku new residents. Today it is the center and source of sapphire boom half of the total production of sapphires in the world. Illegal miners exist in parallel with the large-scale production. All sapphire business works here almost without any control in the atmosphere of the Wild West with its lawlessness and crime. Over the next few years, together with sapphires, located at the surface was completely selected land on the field, and today gems mined in deep pits. Engaged in the extraction of sapphires whole family. According to official studies, 19 out of 21 thousand children living here are employed in the production of sapphire.

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1) Prospectors are selected from sapphire mine near the southwestern city of Madagascar Ilakaka to go home. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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2) Two prospectors carefully removed the bag with gravel from the depths of the mine near the river, where they are with the rest of the employees are looking for sapphires in Anzanakaro Ilakaki near Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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3) A group of workers for payment podёnnuyu digging sand and loose soil on a sapphire quarry near the town of Ilakaka in southwestern Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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4) Junior miner holding fast to the rope dipped in a deep hole in the ground at the site of the mine in the near Anzanakaro Ilakaki. Local miners and numerous members of their families working in narrow deep mines, where piles of gravel and sand are looking for sapphires. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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5) The miners are working on a sapphire mine. In the background is visible Ilakaka city which has grown rapidly since the influx of illegal miners in October 1998. They came here in search of fortune after the discovery of large deposits of sapphires. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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6) Five men watching a group of miners that extract gravel and sand from a large sapphire mine near Ilakaki. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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7) Dieudonné Laha demonstrates gems that he, along with other miners got two days, digging the earth and gravel washing in the river near the village near Anzakaro Ilakaki. Gravel selected from deep pits, carefully washed and filtered in a nearby river, and in the meantime other miners scrutinize the rocky bottom of the mine in search of sapphires. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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8) Mandraisara (right) and her friend Tafitasoaniana (left) near the mountains of sand and gravel dance and sing the song they heard on a local popular radio station. These piles of sand dug from their parents sapphire mine near Ilakaki. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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9) Prospectors complete shift from the mine and returned to their families in the village Ilakaka (visible in the background). (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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10) Prospectors washed gravel on the screens in the river in search of sapphires in Anzanakaro Ilakaki near Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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11) View of the town Ilakaka September 15, 2008. He quickly rose from October 1998, when here in search of fortune to the newly discovered large deposits of sapphires crowds flocked illegal miners. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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12) 13-year-old Donna sits beside his father while he prepares coffee during a break from the extraction of sapphires in Anzanakaro Madagascar. Donna no longer go to school, but dreams of someday becoming a doctor. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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13) Nushad Hadzhirva from the island of Sri Lanka (left), an experienced buyer of precious stones considers sapphires, which he offered to local miners in the village Ilakaka Madagascar. Many buyers of local stones as Hairva, came here from Thailand or Sri Lanka to do business. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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14) A female miner waits patiently for her partner will tighten the rope into a deep shaft near the river in Anzanakaro Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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15) Employee carefully considering sapphire in the local jewelry shop in Ilakake. Local miners working in narrow deep mines, where they dig in the sand in search of sapphires and good luck. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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16) The miners working on the territory of the field pitted holes in searching for sapphires near the river September 14, 2008 near Ilakaki Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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17) A local prospector with other workers waiting by the window in the jewelry workshop Ilakake with the hope that a buyer from Sri Lanka, who was interested in him with stones, wants to buy them. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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18) 13-year-old Donna watching adult miners, which are sent to the river to wash the gravel that they have extracted from deep mines in the ground Anzanakaro Madagascar September 14, 2008. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images) / & gt;

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19) Four sapphire next to a stack of banknotes in the jewelry workshop, where the buyer gems from Sri Lanka estimates sapphires mined by local prospectors of sand and gravel in deep mines nearby. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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20) Prospectors climb the walls of the sapphire mine located near the village of Ilakaka. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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21) Prospectors working on top of a large sapphire mines in search of precious stones around Ilakaki Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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22) Sapphires different colors on display at a local jewelry shop in Ilakake Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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23) A group of miners excavating gravel and sand on top of the hill near the sapphire mine near the village of Ilakaka. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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24) 10-year-old Francois Rantonirina carries a shovel and a home-made sieve, through which she and her mother in search of sapphires all morning sifted gravel mined from the ground, in Manombo BBC about Ilakaki. According to official statistics, 19 out of 21 thousands of local children engaged in physical labor. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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25) The wind carries sand from the sapphire mines in the direction of children playing nearby the mine near the town of Ilakaka Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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