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The world renound ruby mines at Mogok, Burma

The sapphire mines at Bang Kacha, Chanthaburi, Thailand.

Gem mining at Pailin, Cambodia.

Sapphire mining at Bo Ploi, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Ruby mining at Bo Rai, Trat, Thailand.

The marble village of Sagyin, Shan State, Burma.

The Sapphire Mines at Bang Kacha Page 1

Sapphire mine at Bang Kacha, Chanthaburi, Thailand

Before: Digging for sapphires right up to the side of the road.

 

Before: Digging for sapphires right up to the side of the road.

After: The same plot a couple of years later, filled in and used for growing fruit.

 

Before: An open cast digging during the dry season. No water, no digging.

Before: An open cast digging during the dry season. No water, no digging.

 

After: Six months later, during the monsoon season, the pit has been filled with soil from a new digging.

After: Six months later, during the monsoon season, the pit has been filled with soil from a new digging.

 

The edge of the filled pit showing how close to the house they came.

The edge of the filled pit showing how close to the house they came.

 

Open-cast Sapphire Mining

The soil is loaded into a rotating drum and washed using a high pressure

 hose. The larger rocks roll out the front of the rotating drum, the smaller

 pieces including the sapphires are separated and drained into a pit next to

 the drum. These are then pumped up to the pulsating jig outside the pit.

 

Open Cast Sapphire Mining

Another view of the open-cast sapphire mine.

 

The digger loading the soil into the rotating drum for washing.

The digger loading soil into the rotating drum.

 

The pulsating jig outside the pit. The soil and smaller pieces of gravel are  pumped up from the pit to the jig. The gem baring gravel collects in the  jig's compartments.

The pulsating jig outside the pit. The soil and smaller pieces of gravel are

 pumped up from the pit to the jig. The gem baring gravel collects in the

 jig's compartments.

 

At the end of the day the pumps under the jig are shut down and the  miners climb onto the jig to sort through the gravel.

At the end of the day the pumps under the jig are shut down and the

 miners climb onto the jig to sort through the gravel.

 

Raking through the gravel and picking out the sapphires by hand.

Raking through the gravel and picking out the sapphires by hand.

 

Found one ...!

Found one ...!

 

Iron-stained sapphire crystals recovered from the gravel. The sapphires are  mostly black stars, gold stars, green, orange & blue sapphires.

Iron-stained sapphire crystals recovered from the gravel. The sapphires are

 mostly black stars, gold stars, green, orange & blue sapphires.

 

A green sapphire crystal.

A green sapphire crystal.

 

A jig with two sorting compartments, used on larger mining operations.

A jig with two sorting compartments, used on larger mining operations.

 

A small pit dug out using a mechanical digger then worked on by hand.  Two workers dig the soil and one worker sorts through the soil with a  knife and picks out the sapphires.

A small pit dug out using a mechanical digger then worked on by hand.

 Two workers dig the soil and one worker sorts through the soil with a

 knife and picks out the sapphires.

 

Raking through the soil with a knife.

Raking through the soil with a knife.

 

The pockets of gray soil are where the sapphires are found.

The pockets of gray soil are where the sapphires are found.

 

One of the miners showing me the stones they have found.

One of the miners showing me the stones they have found.

 

Peering down into a traditional style gem pit. These types of pits have become  a rarity today with the arrival of modern mechanical mining techniques.

Peering down into a traditional style gem pit. These types of pits have become

a rarity today with the arrival of modern mechanical mining techniques.

 

 Foot holes are dug into the sides of the pit. The  whole is too small for a ladder to be used.

Foot holes are dug into the sides of the pit. The

 whole is too small for a ladder to be used.

 

Dealers inspecting parcels of rough sapphires.

Dealers inspecting a parcel of sapphires.

 

A dark green sapphire crystal from Bang Kacha.

 

Splitting a sapphire crystal before cutting.

The sapphire crystal after splitting.

The sapphire crystal after splitting.

 

 

 

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