When talking about natural resources there have a number of conflicts that has been brought forward by various people from all over the world. These conflicts have been named as conflict minerals. Conflict minerals are defined as the conflicting situations in which minerals are mined which involves abuses of the people involved human rights. Blood diamond is also known as conflict diamond or war diamond. The reason why blood diamond got this name was because of the way, the diamonds that was being used in order to finance for the insurgence or army for war especially in the African countries. When looking at the writings done by Billon (2005, p.23) about diamond conflict it is very important to look at the person suffering when it happens. It is a fact that most of the countries that usually have natural resources in the Africa are sierra Leon, democratic republic of Congo and Angola (Billon, 2005, p.27). The diamond mining has not made the workers any richer in fact, they are poor but the governments are the ones who keep getting all the credit ad wealth. The fact of the matter is that diamonds are very valuable to all foreigners. This is because it is used to make some of the most expensive jewellery in the world such as diamond engagement rings, bracelets and necklaces.
Dietrich (2001) believes that the countries also producing the diamonds are not among the most wealthy countries in the world. This could be because of the insecurity in the country due to civil wars caused by political difference and position from the rebels who want to take control of the areas rich with minerals. There have been a number of problems that have occurred in the countries that diamond mining is done. This is because of the way the locals are been treated by the foreigners because they are given very little for their hard works in the mining areas. The local people are the ones who are doing all the work such as digging for the minerals in harsh environments (Dietrich, 2001, p.111). In these environments, the people are usually at a risk that they might be injured or might die. This requires for the local people who are working in the mining areas to get extra payment and they should not be among the lowest paid people in the world. This is why most believe that they should be among the richest people in the world. The real reason why these people are paid very little is because of the lack of education of how worthy those minerals are in the markets. When it comes to diamond mining, it has a lot of similarities and differences with the sapphire mining.
The people suffering from mining of the diamonds or other minerals
Reddy (2005) states that there are thousands of people who are being used in the mining of diamond. There are many of them who have been forced into doing the mining (Reddy et al, 2005, p.51). There have been reports that thousands of children have been kidnapped and forced into mining. They are used as slaves in that at times they are not given any money for their work. In the mining method, the people being used normally use primitive methods, which they use to dig on mud or along the riverbanks. Sometimes these people only use their hands for digging. This is the part that it gets really hard because of the way in, which the children are the ones who are doing this work. The women are also mistreated in that they are raped and forced to work. It has been reported that many African countries where there is mining of resources or oil there are many people who are unemployed or there is poor infrastructure.
The question comes in about how can people in these countries be poor while the resources they have is very profitable. This is a question that many people in the world have been asking themselves for years. There are many African countries who sold their diamonds and other natural resources in order to finance their civil wars. Good examples of such countries are Angola, Sierra Leon and Democratic republic of Congo. According to Reddy et al, (2005) Angola’s rebel group called UNITA has been fighting with the government for years over control over the areas rich with diamonds (Reddy et al, 2005, p.55). They were able to finance themselves with the diamonds that was mined in, which they got billion of dollars (Reddy et al, 2005, p.56). The United Nations was able to see this fact and stopped all purchases of diamonds coming from Angola. However, the trade continued despite sanctions. These civil wars in Angola have caused the deaths of over 500,000 innocent people. The others were seriously injured or mutilated.
In Sierra Leon’s civil wars, it got its financing from the diamond trade. The trade was mostly done with their neighbouring country Liberia. Liberia was able to provide them with weapons and also military training. This was considered to be a despicable act by the UN and thus made it possible for the Liberian President to be brought to justice in July 2006 when taken to the Hague and was found guilty in 2012. The civil wars in Sierra Leon caused the deaths of over 50, 000 people as estimated by the United Nations (Reddy et al, 2005, p.59).
The other leaders just financed themselves such as the president of the Republic of Congo Mobutu Seseko. It is estimated he acquired over 8 billion dollars of wealth as president before being overthrown in 1997 (Dietrich, 2001, p.103). According to the writings of Smillie (2013) an article named as Blood Diamonds and Non-State Actors, it is clear that he believes that there are other forces that have brought about the injustices of the civilians in the African countries that do diamond mining. A good example of this is De Beers, which is considered to be one of the largest diamond company in the world. This company is known to be getting their diamonds from most of the conflicted countries that produce diamonds (Smillie, 2013, p.1010). This company is known to have consumers from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and many more countries. This company is also able to control the price of the diamonds as well as the purchase of the resource. They have accepted the fact that they have bought some of the Angolan diamonds through illegal means from the UNITA rebels. The fact that diamond business is very secretive no one truly knows the impact it has on the conflicted countries. The diamond companies are known to have their own industries in those countries. The only African country that has diamonds and has a fifty, fifty share is Botswana.
Smillie (2013) also indicated that in 2002, the Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme (KCPS) was formulated in order to curb illegal trading of the diamonds from entering the legitimate market. The main purpose for the creation of this scheme was to ensure that blood diamond was stopped. This was done by the diamond companies in order to also clear their names. This scheme was put into place by the United Nations so as to protect the conflicted areas and also to legitimise the diamond industry (Smillie, 2013, p.1018). This scheme was also created in order to ensure that the countries with the diamonds also benefit from them. This scheme might have worked but the truth is illegal diamond trade is still being practised in the African countries.
The similarities between diamond conflict and sapphire
Hilson (2014) wrote a journal about Constructing Ethical Mineral Supply Chains in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Malawian Fair Trade Rubies, which argues that both sapphire mining and diamond mining, the local people are the ones who do most of the work and are the ones who are paid very little. This is argument was compared so that it could show how the problems encountered with other minerals are the same as that of the sapphire minerals. This is very evident because most of the countries with these minerals are the ones considered to be poor due to the fact they have poor infrastructure, high rates of unemployment and the country is undeveloped. It is strange when this happens because the countries are known to be producing some of the most expensive resources in the world therefore; they are required to be among the richest countries in the world. The other similarity is that the locals are uneducated about the worthiness of the minerals. Therefore, they dig for the minerals without knowing what they are being used for or how valuable it is in the market. The people are also given very primitive equipments that are used to dig for the minerals, which are not very helpful that at times has caused injuries of the workers and other times led to deaths. Most of these two resources are found in the African countries such as diamonds usually come from Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leon. While for sapphire, they come from Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi and Nigeria (Hilson, 2014, p.57).
The differences between sapphire mining and diamond mining
When it comes to the mining of the two resources it is very different because diamonds are much more expensive than sapphire to mine. In the book written by Walsh in (2012), he believes that the reason is that sapphires are considered to be very easy to get and they are plenty or easily accessible (Walsh, 2012, p.25). In the writings done in 2010, Walsh argued that diamond that is been mined is considered to be very valuable regardless of their colour but when it comes to the sapphire they need to have colour and if they don’t have any they are considered to be worthless (Walsh, 2010, p.40).
In conclusion, all natural resources in the world have brought a lot of differences economically in their respective countries. The major problem that occurs is that the people from those particular countries are not getting the wealth they deserve in that they are among the poorest people. The workers in the mining areas should be considered and given what they deserve to get. Some of the countries with these resources have civil wars problems because there are some people who want to take control of the areas with the minerals. They therefore, use those minerals to acquire wealth, which would be used to buy guns and also acquire military training. The people need to be educated about the value of the minerals they are mining such as diamond and sapphires are in the market in order for them to not be taken advantage of by foreign investors. The consumer from other countries such as united states should try and find out whether the diamond they are purchasing is blood diamond or not.
Billon, Phillipe. (2005). Fuelling War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts. London: Routledge: p. 23-58.
Blood Diamond Documentary . (19 June 2012). <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bzMrxVwl74>.
Dietrich, Christian. (2001). "Blood diamonds:Effective African-based monopolies?" African Security Review: p.99-114.
Hilson, Gavin. (2014). "Constructing Ethical Mineral Supply Chains in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Case of Malawian Fair Trade Rubies." Development and Change: p.53–78.
Reddy et al,. (2005). Conflict, Diamonds and the Political Economy of Instability in Africa . African Geographical Review: p. 50-76.
Smillie, Ian. (2013). "Blood Diamonds and Non-State Actors." Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law: p.1003-1023.
Walsh, Andrews. (2012). Made in Madagascar: Sapphires, Ecotourism, and the Global Bazaar. University of Toronto Press: p. 18-26.
Walsh, Andrews. (2010). The Commodification of Fetishes: Telling the Difference between Natural and Synthetic Sapphires. American Ethnologist: p.35-44.