Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Crystals and Strip Mining

New Age shops are full of lovely glittering crystals, but the way in which they are obtained is often very damaging.
The site:
has a comment on strip-mining for crystrals:

Open cast or strip mining excavates large chunks of land to extract precious minerals without needing to tunnel below the surface. It can cause short and long term environmental damage through accelerated soil erosion and through acid water damage.

The exposure of exposed fragmented rocks to water can also create acids such as sulphuric acid that degrade the environment. As strip mining eliminates the soil and overlying rock above a mineral deposit, this means that even with replanting after the mining is completed, it will still take many years for vegetation and animals to return to the land

But not all crystals are mined in that way. There are a number of sapphires, for example, that are mined in environmentally friendly ways. For example,

Sapphires are mined today the same as they were thousands of years ago. Most sapphires come from countries that have strict guidelines on how mining may proceed. In Sri Lanka (Ceylon) mining is regulated so that the land is protected from over use. Mining is restricted to small-scale operations where heavy machinery is forbidden.


It depends on where they come from, and that is a question that I certainly ask before buying any crystals (and make a nuisance of myself asking and explaining about at New Age fairs, because I think it is important).

Some are helping indiginous, age-old, small scale operations and native communities; others are hacking into the ground, taking what they want in bulk, and leaving the land, and the people who live there, not much the richer because of it; the profits go to the mining companies.

Sapphire producing countries such as Sri Lanka (Ceylon) do not allow environmental or unstable economic mining activities. These responsible fair trade laws are regulated well and have existed for a long time. Some countries such as Burma do not have a very good record for correct environmentally responsible mining. than

So do ask. It is important

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