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thinbuddha
30-01-2007, 06:51
We have all heard some horrible tales of the labor practices in African diamond mines. So what about the working conditions found at crystal mines around the world. Sure, the money involved is a lot smaller which leads me to think that maybe things aren't as bad, but mining for anything can be dangerous- especially when safety is disregarded because it is "too expensive". Are people losing their lives in dangerous jobs just to pull crystals out of mines in China, Brazil and/or other countires?

I love the crystal ball that was given to me this past year, and have looked into aquiring other crystals, but I cartainly don't want to contribute to a business that is based in the blood of men, women and children. Does anyone have any specific info on which countries to avoid dealing with?

-tb

Sophie
30-01-2007, 07:49
We have all heard some horrible tales of the labor practices in African diamond mines. So what about the working conditions found at crystal mines around the world. Sure, the money involved is a lot smaller which leads me to think that maybe things aren't as bad, but mining for anything can be dangerous- especially when safety is disregarded because it is "too expensive". Are people losing their lives in dangerous jobs just to pull crystals out of mines in China, Brazil and/or other countires?

I love the crystal ball that was given to me this past year, and have looked into aquiring other crystals, but I cartainly don't want to contribute to a business that is based in the blood of men, women and children. Does anyone have any specific info on which countries to avoid dealing withBotswana is reputed OK for diamonds, and nowadays, so is South Africa (if you can afford them,of course). Most crystal mining in Africa (that's all I know about) is done "freelance" -that is, by chancers - unless there is big money in the extraction (e.g. fluorite, which has an industrial market). Mining's a tough business the world round, and often exploitative. I tend to prefer stones that are mined above ground in areas that are not poisonous, but it's not always possible to check, because most semi-precious stones don't come with certificates of origin. It was a hard battle getting these certificates for diamonds.

I don't have an answer to this, except where it comes to blood mining - diamonds and other minerals used to fuel war, where the obvious answer is - don't buy them and apply whatever commercial pressure you have to stop such practices (so now we have certificates of origin for diamonds, though there is already a black market in those). And even then - so many minerals are used to make our daily objects - for example, most diamonds mined in the world are used industrially, not in jewellery.

Where it comes to labour practices, then we have to look at each mineral in its industrial use. Clear quartz is used in watches - a huge market - so pressure can be applied to the watch market. Or you stop wearing a watch. Rose quartz, however, is used in jewellery and new age stuff - a much smaller market (though growing) - the pressure is different.

Where it comes to freelance mining, the only way to influence labour conditions is through general social conditions. And the only way to influence these is if the rich world (me, you) agrees to give up some of its privileges (like pensions and insurance and cheap food). And even then...in Mbuji Mayi (DRC), you can find diamonds by digging just a few feet under the ground. Men give up good jobs to go mining there, it's a frontier town, the conditions are horrible with a crime rate to match - the Wild West in the middle of Africa. Much of the mining is done by chancers, freelance, people just digging beyond government or company control. They dig up all sorts of other minerals along with diamonds. What are you going to do to stop them? Or the coltan miner in the Kivu, who would rather risk war than lose the chance to make enough money in a year to pay for his 6 kids' schooling and medication for his old Mum and Dad - and so the rest of us can have cellphones?

These are good questions you ask, even if they go beyond mining. Every crystal user should be aware of them (so should everyone who wears a watch, uses a cellphone, etc. ) What to do? Be luddites or support organised labour, or bring down exploitative global capitalism (I'd gladly see that). Of course, that would not stop the freelancers...

Which countries to avoid? You'd have to start taking off your watch before you ask that question. In our world, mining is never clean.

crystalwoman
30-01-2007, 12:38
As a crystalogist and green witch this has always been an ethically important issue for me, so over the years I've done a fair bit of research about the mineral mining industries. Here's my take on it, based on my personal researches. Thinbuddha, you asked "Are people losing their lives in dangerous jobs just to pull crystals out of mines in China, Brazil and/or other countires?" The answer is no. Other mining industries are not anything like the corrupt African diamond industries. Diamond is one of the most common minerals of all, it's found all over the world, and 90% of the diamond taken out of the earth is used for industrial purposes because it's the hardest known substance in the universe. In other mining operations sometimes there are accidents but for the most part all miners and mining operations are extremely careful about the whole mining process. They have to be because their lives and our civilization depend on it, and our civilization would not be as advanced as it is now if it were not for the minerals that we utilize. Think about it - everything that we use that is not animal or vegetable based comes from minerals. And minerals are constantly renewable, recyclable and they are constantly growing as the earth grows and expands.

Quartz is THE most common mineral known in the world and nearly all other minerals are partially or mainly composed of quartz or are found in large quartz deposits. With regard to crystals, good quality collectible crystals are a very, very small by-product of the quartz mining industry, and mined quartz is used mainly for industrial purposes. Quartz that is used in watches, cel phones, audio/video equipment and computers does not come from the earth, it is not anything like clear quartz that comes from the earth, it is laboratory-grown quartz that is grown from silicon dioxide sand, it's grown as crystallized slices known as quartz 'wafers'. It's grown to certain specifications that are suitable only for our advanced technological equipment - quartz crystals that come out of the ground are not suitable. And guess what - industrial diamonds are now being manufactured - they've been getting grown in laboratories since World War II. A cubic zirconia is a lab-grown diamond.

Some mining methods I know of use explosives, deep pit mining, wide open pit mining using MIGHTY crunching, earth shaking machines, and mining done by tunnelling very deep into the earth. All of the material that miners work through has to come out of the earth and then be put somewhere else to be processed in a variety of ways. Often the wild environment around a mine would be 'displaced' by people, processing buildings and other constructions, machinery, leftover tailings, trees felled, streams diverted or poisoned. Water, as well as a variety of caustic chemicals and acids may be used for washing, dissolving, stripping or separating 'impurities' from the minerals being mined. Sometimes these impurities from within the earth are gaseous vapors, caustic liquids or other toxic minerals. This all has to go someplace to be processed, or not. It can be hard, dangerous, poisonous, dirty work for the miners who must try to foresee every eventuality and potentially dangerous consequence of the work they do. These are things we and they all need to be concerned about. But the mining industries now are not what they were like 100 years ago.

What a lot of people fail to understand is that not all mining operations are great big industrial operations, and not all of the big operations destroy or poison the environment or do actual damage to the earth. Some of the diamond mining operations of the tundra areas of North America are attempting to keep their areas in pristine conditions while the operation is active. When they close down their operations they reconstruct the environment with new hills, ponds, small lakes, streams and newly planted vegetations that makes it even MORE habitable than what it was to start with, before the operation began. There are many more responsible and environmentally friendly operations than what there were in the past, and many of them are aided by new technologies that cut back on or even eliminate damage as seen in the past.

And then there are the smaller mining operations, the ones that are often operated by a man & wife team with children, like in Australia. Some of them live inside their own patch of opal, a house in the earth with new rooms and shelves, countertops, created by chipping out the opal. Now that's what I call making a living out of your own home. Or there's the 3-4 buddies with a small piece of property up in the hills somewhere, with a little 'vein' just under that there big rock. They just manage to make a living for themselves doing something they enjoy, and do very little if any damage at all to their own environment and that around them. They mostly seem to take pretty good care of everything, including more gentle and careful treatment of the minerals they bring out of the earth.

Remember that mining has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years and it has not destroyed the earth or civilization yet. There are still boundless minerals that are coming out of the earth and being recycled back into the earth over the course of time. Many of the minerals currently coming to the surface since the past 50 years are brand new minerals previously unknown to man. The earth is constantly producing and giving birth to minerals, new and old, by pushing them up from deep within herself with great internal pressure, heat and volcanic action. No mine can ever equal the devastation and environmental toxins that come out of an active, erupting volcano. She wants her minerals to reach the surface. The minerals themselves have a life-force that motivates them to reach towards the surface, towards the light. Sometimes when we have little earthquakes or tremors, it is the result of a really huge geode full of crystals with no more room left to grow finally has managed to crack itself open. Some of these are discovered by humans, giant caves of crystals that have created tunnels of crystals throughout their inner selves. All constantly growing and pushing up towards the surface to make way for the new growth and expansion beneath them. The people who take these kinds of treasures out of the earth really do their very best to be as careful as possible in the manner of extraction and removal and cleaning and processing. The 'trauma' created by humans does not approach the trauma created within the crystal caves when they first cracked open. And the people who take individual crystal specimens out of the earth do it because they love what they are doing. Just ask any rockhound and they'll tell you it's addictive.

Elysianfaery
31-01-2007, 08:46
Someone on an earlier thread mentioned a company called Kacha Stones (http://www.kacha-stones.com/) that only carries ethically-mined stones. I bought a few things from them a couple of weeks ago, and I really liked everything I got. They have good customer service too. They're in the UK, but the shipping is free.

I didn't see a crystal ball on their website though...if that's what your looking for.

YDM42
31-01-2007, 09:35
Wonderful post crystalwoman.

I wondered: Does removing these stones from the earth harm the environment, the earths balance or its polarity? In other words do the stones serve another important purpose to the ecosystem?

crystalwoman
31-01-2007, 13:18
Wonderful post crystalwoman.

I wondered: Does removing these stones from the earth harm the environment, the earths balance or its polarity? In other words do the stones serve another important purpose to the ecosystem?

Thank you!

I don't believe that removing stones from the ground can harm the earth's environment - all minerals are constantly pushing their way up to the surface anyway. But I do believe that if we started removing minerals and sending them away to some other place in outer space that would cause some ecological harm through depletion, and I do believe that all minerals and alloys serve a vital purpose to the ecosystem. All minerals possess a vital energy and if we didn't access that energy we would die. Harvesting minerals from the earth is a topic that concerns many people because of the potential damage done to Mother Earth through various harvesting methods. There are many methods of harvesting that we see as harmful and there are many methods that are considered harmless. But the greatest damage we have done to our earth is not from mining and making things out of minerals, it's with what we have used for fuels from the minerals and oils after they have been mined. Our worst offense has been during the past 300 years with the massive burning of coals and processed oils which has sent carbon dioxide pollution into the air and the waters thereby creating our global warming. The next worst offense has been the clear-cut logging of our forests which absorb carbon dioxide and breathe out vital oxygen and create what is called a carbon sink (carbon sinks are essential to our existence). But earth has done exactly the same thing with her volcanoes, earthquakes and forest-fires from the beginning of time. There is a long list of offenses that we have committed against Earth but harvesting minerals is not the worst of them. And wearing stones and using them for medicine is the very best thing we have done for ourselves and for the ecosystem.

Someone asked me a similar question on another forum a while back, and what I did was channel some stones to try to come up with an explanation from Mother Earth's point of view. Part of the answers I got back was "explain it as the minerals representing renewed health and new life, new hope and new consciousness, and as mother-love trying to teach a child". It's not always easy to put abstract channelled information into words but I'll try here and I hope it makes some sense within the context of the question you've asked.

It's my understanding that the new minerals and crystals that earth is giving birth to these days is her gift to us to help us to heal ourselves and adapt to earth as she continues to grow and change. The earth IS growing you know, we have scientific evidence of that. At one time there was only one continent, we have named it Pangea. As the earth grew Pangea split apart into different continents, and those continents are still spreading apart as earth continues to grow. Our own growth and continuing population increases contributes to the growth of the planet as well.

Mother Earth is a living, breathing, heart-beating, thinking, seeing, growing Being. She is one big organism made up of neural pathways throughout her whole body. It's not human but in human terms the heart is the electromagnetic molten iron at it's core, it's life blood is the magma mixed with minerals and metals that are constantly being moved from the core to the surface, its' growing bones are the granite mountains and tectonic plates beneath the surface crust, it's thickening skin is the soil and every living thing on the surface. Everything on the surface - even the living things such as humans, animals, plants - we all break down into minerals, water and gasses. The planet is alive, it breathes, it has consciousness, it takes it's energy-food from the sun and stars just the way plants do, and it converts that energy into new mineral growth. The minerals and crystals all contain the consciousness of the whole, and the NEW minerals contain a new, increased consciousness of a higher order.

Mother Earth is continuously growing and healing herself in her own way and she tries to communicate to us deaf and blind humans by gifting us with the minerals and crystals so that they can teach us how to be physically and spiritually healthy. Because we are made up of minerals ourselves our bodies respond to the energies of crystals through electromagnetism and through spirit. As the vibratory rate of the earth is increasing so is our own vibration increasing. And because we are thinking beings with a consciousness, if we listen carefully we tune into the consciousness of earth and her crystals and we start to understand what she is telling us.

Mother Earth is the one who is trying to give US information and healing, she is trying to teach us how to grow with her by giving us new crystals of a higher vibratory rate. The crystals are her children, and they are our teachers. She doesn't need our help, she's already way ahead of us and we have no way to change or 'heal' Earth. If this civilization we are in cannot come to a proper understanding of how earth functions, if we cannot work WITH her growth instead of exploiting it - she will just do the same thing again that she has done in the past with previous civilizations. Like Atlantis. She will slowly cover the continents with deeper waters, create more hurricanes, more volcanoes, more droughts in high places, wipe out over-populated areas - until only the fittest and most consciously perceptive of humans, plants and animals remain. And then we will just start all over again.

Mother earth is billions of years old and she knows what she's doing. She doesn't need us to exist and she doesn't need our help. We are only guests and She only asks for our co-operation if we expect her to be our hostess and nurturer. She tries to teach us how to co-operate by giving us her new minerals that will speak to us and teach us to be as one heart and soul with the Earth.

In the past 20 years alone there have been discovered hundreds of new minerals, crystals and gemstones that mankind has never seen before in the entire known history of Earth. They are all coming up to the surface now, and there are many more to come as earth continues to evolve and grow.



Below are 2 links to pictures of Ametrine crystal caves in South America, look for the little man's face and hard-hat in the lower-right middle of the first picture. He is so small compared to the crystals it is hard to see him. In the second picture the other man's face is bigger. This is a very SMALL cave that these men are in, and look how huge the crystals are, and look at the expressions on the faces of these men. You can see from their expressions that they KNOW they are in the presence of an all-mighty power that is greater than humankind:

http://minerals.gps.caltech.edu/AMETRINE/P_Rico_1_pocket.jpg

http://minerals.gps.caltech.edu/AMETRINE/P_Rico_3_pocket.jpg

thinbuddha
01-02-2007, 03:04
He is so small compared to the crystals it is hard to see him.

I have seen a snapshot of a man standing next to a single crystal that must have been at least 20 feet long and six feet wide at the base. It is incredible how large crystals can be.

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm not sure about what you are saying crystalwoman. You seem to be saying that because mother earth wants us to have crystals that people wouldn't be placed needlessly in harms way to collect them. Is this based on wishful thinking, or are these mining operations really run as ethically as you say? I don't know the answers- I just have my doubts.

-tb

YDM42
01-02-2007, 07:20
I read your reply. I can see the stones being like fruit on a tree or a flower, which falls to the ground and refertilizes the earth if not used.

My concern came about when watching a program where the scientist are able to detect minerals deposits by the magnetic fields they produce. I wondered if those fields should be distrubed, if the magnectic filed served some purpose in balancing the earth. I have similar concerns about the removal of large meteors, because they have such large magnetic fields. I wonder about the impact on the enviroments in which they are placed when placed in museums and such. Heck maybe they fell where they needed to be in order to maintain the earths equilibrium?

Your post was very informative. I cant see it being all good or all bad. But I do believe that there is little that we do that higher power can not make some good come out of it.

crystalwoman
01-02-2007, 07:27
... I'm not sure about what you are saying crystalwoman. You seem to be saying that because mother earth wants us to have crystals that people wouldn't be placed needlessly in harms way to collect them. Is this based on wishful thinking, or are these mining operations really run as ethically as you say? I don't know the answers- I just have my doubts.

-tb
Thinbuddha, I think it's important that you have your doubts - a questioning mind and a healthy dose of skepticism is what helps stop people from making errors. Certainly I don't expect people to take my word about the ethics of mining, I think it's essential for people to put questions to the proof for themselves. The best way to find the answers to any questions is to do research, research, research and make educated decisions for yourself. Wishful thinking will never get anyone anywhere. If you do a Google search on International Mineral Mining Laws and Health and Safety Regulations you will get lots of information about mining practices and ethics around the world and be able to make a more informed decision in this matter. Here's a couple of interesting links to start off with:

http://www.infomine.com/events/
http://technology.infomine.com/Blasting/

With regard to the matter of people not being placed needlessly in harms way - I don't believe that earth can be held accountable for ethics or accidents that happen, after all it is people who put themselves in harms way through their own choices and actions and earth is not responsible for people's actions. Earth offers her gifts freely by bringing them close to us and it's up to us to be responsible for our own safety when we take those gifts.

Edited to add one more comment. The question brought up IS an important question. There's a couple of other ways besides education and research that can help answer the question. One way is to ask the crystals themselves, and the people who collect them. The other way is to do a serious tarot reading about it, or to even ask the question in the Tarot Forums and ask other people to do tarot readings around the question. This is THE perfect forum to do that.

crystalwoman
01-02-2007, 08:35
I read your reply. I can see the stones being like fruit on a tree or a flower, which falls to the ground and refertilizes the earth if not used.

My concern came about when watching a program where the scientist are able to detect minerals deposits by the magnetic fields they produce. I wondered if those fields should be distrubed, if the magnectic filed served some purpose in balancing the earth. I have similar concerns about the removal of large meteors, because they have such large magnetic fields. I wonder about the impact on the enviroments in which they are placed when placed in museums and such. Heck maybe they fell where they needed to be in order to maintain the earths equilibrium?

Your post was very informative. I cant see it being all good or all bad. But I do believe that there is little that we do that higher power can not make some good come out of it.

For myself, I'm not too concerned about magnetism or the magnetic fields of minerals. The earth itself is one big giant magnet that attracts things like meteors and it's our own bodies' magnetic fields that keeps our feet on the ground. That's what gravity is - just magnetism between our bodies and the core of the earth. There's a lot of healthy benefits from magnetism, especially to people with things like arthritis or neuralgia. So I don't think it would make much difference, if any, if stones get moved around. It's not going to change the over-all magnetic fields of the earth because magnetism already is an all-encompassing thing.

I tend to be more cautious around strong man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs) because I feel they have the potential to cause a lot of damage. Fortunately, the piezoelectric properties of quartz is one of the things that helps to counteract harmful EMFs. I would definitely be concerned about minerals that emit radioactivity, but that's not the same as magnetism or electromagnetism.

MCsea
01-02-2007, 11:17
HI guys

this is a great thread and I would in my humble view 100% agree with Crystalwoman, she has beautifully stated my long held personal beliefs and I do understand people dont accept this too, its good to constantly remind oneself to keep looking for the best truth.

YDM42
I am an exploration geophysicist, and I am involved in remote sensing, we use airborn electromagnetics to locate ore deposits - just as you described in your post. My professional geophysical beleif is that this is the safest and environmentally friendly way to look for minerals. My crystal side also says is this mother earths way of putting a SIGN up for us, flagging some gift she has for the continued ascention and civilisation of the world. I have to say I dont think what 'man' does with these gifts is always to the higest vibration, but I think we do make mistakes to learn.. anyway..

I feel over all the energy of the planet is too vast and complex to say if we mine here there will be a disruption to the force. I do think mother earth is clever putting difficulties in our way for mining - rare species, difficult terrain, laws, tradition and knowledge in our way so we dont just in one blow empty 'all' the gifts in one generation..

I just thought Id add my two cents worth in.

MARINA

Little Hare
09-02-2007, 20:35
thanks for the photos! i didn't conciously realise how big crystals grew

sleepingcat
31-07-2008, 05:05
Thank you for the information and the pictures, the man in the second picture looks so happy it's contagious.

You know, one thing I've been learning lately is I'm shocked how many crystals I can find within several hours of my home. And I live in Southwest Ohio, allegedly a a glacier stole all our good rocks then we got knee-deep in an ancient sea. (but man, just go out to the highway and you'll find breathtaking fossils).

I guess like trying to be fair-trade, local is always good. *nods*

Emerald_Empress
31-07-2008, 08:01
I use crystals with tarot and healing, and part of my Channeling process I always ask to forgive the souls for if there was any blood shed over removing the stones from the earth, in turn I try and avoid certain countries that have unethical practices and are still using slavery as a means of extraction.
Love and Light
KM