Crystal's Journey- From Ethical Mining to your Kitchen Table
We hear a lot about "ethical mining" these
days. So what exactly is ethical mining? Let's break it down
first in order that we may understand the basic principles.
are many definitions of ethics, and in this case, ethics not
only addresses man's action against man, but also man's action
against the health and well being of the Earth itself.
mans' action against man: "Ethical standards include those
that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And,
ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as
the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right
man's action against earth: "Ethics refers to well-founded
standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought
to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society,
fairness, or specific virtues." 
is defined as "the extraction of valuable minerals or other
geological materials from the earth, usually from an ore body,
vein or (coal) seam. Materials recovered by mining include base
metals, precious metals, iron, uranium, coal, diamonds, limestone,
oil shale, rock salt and potash. Any material that cannot be grown
through agricultural processes, or created artificially in a laboratory
or factory, is usually mined. Mining in a wider sense comprises
extraction of any non-renewable resource (e.g., petroleum, natural
gas, or even water)." 
using these definitions, "Ethical mining" at its very
basic premise, is a right action that promote environmentally
sound mining activities while also protecting those who are employed
to work in the mines with stringent safety standards and workmen
long has this been going on?
as long as mining for profit has been around I suppose. And as
long as that actually is, I think the real eye opener for many
were when Blood Diamonds were first reported. Using slave labor
to mine for diamonds in the absolute worse conditions (not to
mention being threatened with your very life) in order to fund
a war and the terrorists in that war. Horrific actions all in
the name of greed.
What has happened here?
several years, written articles and reports have been taking many
mining companies to task for undermining the rules and laws put
into place to protect both workers and the environment. More often
than not, it is the owner of the land or the company which owns
the mining rights to that land that are in gross and grievous
neglect of these laws.
Greed is a powerful motivator.
miners are often poor to middle class hard working citizens who
need the job in order to provide for their families. Jobs in the
area may be slim to none, so they do what they must in order to
support those who they feel responsible for. What would you do
if the only jobs in town were to mine and your family was hungry?
The most immediate action is to find work.....any work. To the
owner of these mining companies, these men fall into "cheap
labor". Again, greed motivates in this decision. Cheap labor,
lowers operating costs and
the owner of the mine makes more profit.
does this include ALL mining?
course it does. It does not matter if it is gold or silver, or
coal or crystals. All mines are supposed to operate within the
boundaries of ethical standards, rules and law.
are very few mines that even offer any type of employee compensation
package (health care, insurance, etc) and yet, mining is one of
the most dangerous jobs in all of the world. However, due to the
increasing numbers of mining accidents, many times ending in loss
of life, we, as a people have decided to no longer turn our heads
and plead ignorance. We are becoming aware of these unsavory practices
more each day and are standing up (and if you aren't you should
be!) to demand that both workers and the environment be well taken
about the environment?
I may be so bold as to say that there is no type of mining that
does not harm the environment. "The nature of mining processes
creates a potential negative impact on the environment both during
the mining operations and for years after the mine is closed."
of the world's mines do have safety regulations in place, but
you only have to look at the rape of the land in places like the
Appalachian mountains  to see that no amount of regulations
can save this once thriving mountain range. And it is not only
here, in the United States, it is every where!
recently read a blog referencing mining in India entitled "Rape
and Run". The author reports, "It is a ghastly sight,
and I hope one day the Chief Justice of India travels to see the
permanent scar that has literally been drilled by the Reddy brothers
and the tribe." 
cannot leave the crystal miners out of this either. Do you really
know how crystals are mined? Yes, we would all like to think that
a little man with his pick ax and tiny tools gently loosens the
dirt around a particularly lovely crystal, taking great care not
to damage the surrounding earth. And, truth be told, often times
the single rock hounder or small group may take this approach.
However, companies do not. Many times, crystals are literally
are blown out of the earth using explosives. Other times the land
is not so gently lifted out by heavy duty machinery (think of
being thrown out of your warm, cozy bed by a couple of big, mean
bullies who throw you against the wall a few times with absolutely
NO mercy. Just when you take a breath and your brain is trying
to figure out what is going on? You get launched again. Over and
quarries and open pit mines use explosives to loosen the materials.
Others use machinery to dig out ton after ton of earth. For the
gemstone enthusiast, you can go to many mining locations and fill
up a bucket with this "virgin" dirt and material, pour
it into a screen and run the screen into a water area, which is
called "Sluicing" to find your gems.
mines offer the chance to go into the mine and dig yourself. Question....how
exactly did they make those nifty tunnels and passageways so it
would be easier for you to find a great digging spot?
face it, unless you are prospecting from a stream and returning
all of the unused material back into the stream or you are digging
and replacing the earth back when you are done (and maybe even
planting a seedling to help with erosion from the hole you just
dug) there really is no such thing as completely ethical mining.There
just can't be. This is a "for profit" business. Very
few businesses are concerned with the environmental issues caused
by such massive digging.
you can look for those who state they receive their crystals from
ethical mining operations. Remember, Ethical mining consists of
two parts--the health, safety and well being of those doing the
mining and the health, safety and wellbeing of the environment.
I simply do not think that both exist in more than possibly a
half dozen or so mines in the world, if that. I highly suggest
that you do your homework before buying any crystals. Ask a lot
of questions, do some background work and research. It is so very
important that we take the time to be aware and informed.
is also very important to realize that most vendors and in fact
most merchants may not be 100% sure that the crystals they are
selling to you are ethically mined or not. Many times, unless
you have the funds and time to visit each mine you purchase from,
you cannot know for sure. You simply have to take the word of
those you deal with. And hopefully, you have found good folk with
integrity that you can trust.
sure about a merchant? Ask around. Ask a friend, ask another merchant,
heck, ask me! I will research it for you. If knowing the truth
is important to you, then you will find a way :)
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Mira Bai 2010 All Rights Reserved ©