Last week I wrote a post about crystal mining and I want to give you an example on how miners gets treated by the big companies they work for. I have been following the miners’ strike in Marikana through the newspapers but since everyone hasn’t I’m going to explain the situation for you.
Marikana (also called Rooikoppies) is a town in northern South Africa where the mining industry is very important. They don’t mine crystals but what they are mining isn’t really relevant in this case. Working in a mine is dangerous. On August 10 this summer the miners initiated a strike. International Labour Organisation commented the state of the mines as: “a variety of safety hazards: falling rocks, exposure to dust, intensive noise, fumes and high temperatures, among others.” while Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davis described the conditions in the mines as “appalling” and said the owners who make millions had questions to answer about how they treat their workers. The purpose of the strike was to increase the miners pay to 12500 South African rand a month, which is about $1500. The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union’s Jeffrey Matunjwa said to Aljazeera that: “As long as bosses and senior management are getting fat cheques, that’s good for them. And these workers are subjected to poverty for life. [After] 18 years of democracy, the mineworker is still earning 3,000 [South African Rand – approximately $360] under those harsh conditions underground.”
Sadly, this world isn’t a peaceful one. Conflicts escalates and often they end with violence, as was the case in Marikana. To this day 36 mine workers, 2 police-officers and 4 unidentified persons has been killed. 78 mine workers have been injured. The conflict is a difficult matter because there’s a lot of eye-witnesses reporting different stories, but I’m not here to solve the conflict. What I’m here to say is that the mine in Marikana is not unique. Most of the mines that supplies crystals and metals are located in the third world. Where many of the miners are living in poverty. They risk their lives for goddamn $360 a month.
What I want is for these miners, these people, to have rights. To have security. To make the mine as secure as possible should be first priority. Mining is no small business. The mines are owned by huge companies who earns millions of dollars. They can afford making the working environment better, instead of sitting on their mountains of wealth that grows bigger for every year.
I don’t want to live in a world where 30 miners must die just so someone across the world can have a topaz to wear around the neck or work magick on. I hope you don’t want that either, so please, please stop using crystals unless you know for sure that they have been ethically mined! Ask the suppliers were the crystals come from and criticize companies that abuse their workers. The more criticism they get the more inclined they will be to change their ways!