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DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND But do they know where they come from? The shocking truth is that many of the diamonds you wear are not mined by the people you expect.Caleb Stewart, Charlie Leonard and Theo Henderson investigate the truth about mining in Zimbabwe DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND
but do they know where they came from? The shocking truth is that many diamonds on the shelf are mined by children. Caleb Stewart, Theo Henderson and Charlie Leonard go to reveal the truth about the conditions of mining in Zimbabwe.
A chrome mine in Zimbabwe. Picture from the Global Landscape Forum
In a Michael Hill jewellery shop in a Christchurch mall in New Zealand, Mark is looking for a diamond ring to give to his fiance at their wedding. The 31-year-old is losing track of time as he has to pick up his tuxedo at 2. He quickly buys the most expensive diamond ring and puts it in his pocket. On the other side of the mall, Miranda, 51, is in the Warehouse looking at the new chrome watches. Then she leaves the store to go to Farmers. On the other side of the city Paul is looking at some diamond earrings on the Pandora website,
he is going to surprise his wife on her birthday. What do all these people have in common? They are all looking at accessories that could have parts mined in Zimbabwe. The prices differ from $15-$2000. While few of the shoppers know that these are mined illegally by children.
More than 12,000 kilometres away from Northlands shopping mall in Christchurch New Zealand, a 13-year-old-boy is crawling barefoot into a dimly lit cave to collect the chrome that others had mined.
“Every day I would carry ore and only rest for short periods. We always started work early in the morning, before eight, and finished when it was dark, after six. All I want now is to go back to school” His mother sent him to work in the mines as his family was poor and were living in poverty. The mother guilts every night as she goes to bed “I wish I hadn't sent my little boys to the mines, it will have ruined their lives.”The children aren't allowed to go home during-
The diamonds are extracted form the ground.
-the holidays, let alone they don't even get holidays.
15% of Zimbabwe children are working in the mines and aren't schooled. Without an education the children will not have the skills to live a normal life. Even though they mine 15% of the world's diamonds their pay is just a little $1 US dollar equal to ($1.48 NZ dollars). The Government is taking action by closing down unlicensed diamond mines.
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The children also get beaten and yelled at by the army so they will mine faster. They will get whipped if they smuggle materials out if the mine. This life would be rough as there is no safety gear, protective clothing or even shoes.They use mercury to clean the water in some areas and the children can be poisoned. The mines are tight and cramped and most mines are only small enough for them to crawl in. With these small tunnels there are sharp rocks and other objects that can hurt the children. There is no medical treatment at the mines so there is high chance of getting cuts infected, getting ill or dying. There are more
The process of diamond mining and exporting, from the ground to behind the glass.
The diamonds are then washed and loaded on to trucks
than 500,000 children working there so nobody is concerned when they get sick.There is a high chance of lung disease from the small particles of dust and harmful fumes.
Some of the children had to leave home to raise money for their families by working in the mines. The children have to work 12-15 hours a day so the children would get really tired.
They do get little breaks but that would not be enough for how much they work.
This is not fair on the children as they have to work instead of getting an education.
Zimbabwe on the globe (Africa centered)
picture from Wikimedia Commons
The diamonds are shipped across the world.
The children will have to pay off their parent's debt or they could be living in poverty. The larger companies need more supplies from the mines so to get more resources you need more children mining. With more children mining means more children being exploited The children who are under 18 are more likely to end up working in the mines. Some families have even sold their children to the army.
The diamonds are cut with presicion machines.
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Next time you buy a diamond ring think of who mined it and where it was mined.
The diamond rings are assembled and shipped to stores."ALL I WANT TO DO NOW IS GO BACK TO SCHOOL"
A gold mine that exploits child workers.Picture from pulitzercenter
The diamonds arrive at the stores, ending their journey.
A graph showing the different types of child labour across the world. The amazing 0.9% in the mining and quarrying industry.
picture from English Online
‘Mining industry attracts child labour as economy picks up’(2016)IRIN News.org
‘Children forced to mine Zimbabwe diamonds’(June 26 2009)The Guardian
‘Labour community’ Brilliant earth.com
“Zimbabwe army runs diamond mine’(June 26 2009)BBC news
“Zimbabwe’s road to ending child labour’ Stop child labour.com
‘Put children in school, not work’
‘Children engaged in unsafe mining’