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Gemfields Investigates Slavery at Ruby Deposit

Miner noticed rise in deaths among unauthorized workers.
May 5, 2019 10:08 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Gemfields has discovered illegal miners working for modern-slavery syndicates at its Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique, after noticing a rise in the number of deaths caused by illegal-pit collapses at the site.

The miners, some of whom are juveniles, are poverty-stricken and unemployed individuals recruited by well-financed syndicate leaders or middlemen, Gemfields said last week. The recruiters offer to pay for tools, food, water and accommodation for these workers, to be repaid through the sale of rubies they mine.

The illegal miners then become indebted to the syndicates, and are unable to pay them back, Gemfields noted. A number of these miners have been killed when the illegal pits in which they were operating collapsed.

The miner has consulted with the Mozambican government, which is currently working to identify the source of the activities. Additionally, Gemfields has been providing assistance in rescue-and-recovery operations, it said, as well as increasing the signage warnings on its site regarding the dangers of illegal mining.

Image: Rubies from the Montepuez ruby mine. (Gemfields)
Tags: Gemfields, Montepuez ruby mine, Rapaport News, Slavery Syndicates
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