Production of sapphire (26 pics + text)

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 dealt in precious stones. Hearing about this brought in Ilakaku tens of thousands of new residents. Today it is the center and source of sapphire boom half of the production of sapphires in the world. Illegal miners are parallel to large-scale production. All sapphire business works here is 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, it was completely selected land in the field, and today gems mined in deep holes. Extraction of sapphires involved entire families. According to official studies, 19 out of 21 thousand children living here are engaged in the production of sapphire.

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1) The miners are selected from sapphire mine near the southwestern Madagascan town Ilakaka to go home. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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2) Two prospectors carefully removed the bag of gravel from the depths of the mine near the river, where they are with the rest of the workers 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 sapphire quarry near the town of Ilakaka in southwest Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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4) The young miner grip on the rope dipped in a deep hole in the ground at the site of the mine in the near Ilakaki Anzanakaro. 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 seen the city Ilakaka, 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) Dieudonne Laja demonstrates gems that he, along with other miners got two days digging the ground and washing the gravel in the river near the village near the Anzakaro Ilakaki. Gravel selected from deep pits, carefully washed and filtered in a nearby river, and in the meantime the 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) complete shift miners out of 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 sieves in the river in search of sapphires Anzanakaro Ilakaki near Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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11) View of the town Ilakaka September 15, 2008. It has grown rapidly since 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 makes coffee during a break from the extraction of sapphires Anzanakaro Madagascar. Donna is no longer goes to school, but dreams of one day 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 sapphires considering that it offers the local miners in the village Ilakaka Madagascar. Many buyers of local stones as Hairva, arrived here from Thailand and Sri Lanka to engage in business. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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14) This woman 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 consider sapphire at a local jeweler 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 pits, doing searches sapphires near the river September 14, 2008 near Ilakaki Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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

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

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19) Four sapphire near the stack of banknotes in the jewelry workshop where the buyer gems of 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 to climb the walls of the sapphire mine located near the village of Ilakaka. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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21) The miners working at the 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 jeweler in Ilakake Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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23) A group of diggers excavating gravel and sand on a hilltop 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 the search for sapphires morning sifted gravel mined from the ground, in Manombo BBC about Ilakaki. According to official statistics, 19 out of 21 thousand local children engaged in physical labor. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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25) The wind carries sand from the sapphire mine towards children who play near the mine near the town of Ilakaka Madagascar. (ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP / Getty Images)

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