Crude techniques for mining emeralds destroy assets and risk disaster, geologists warn. From the Guardian:
A cigarette dangling from his mouth, Zubair Amin casually pulls out a plastic carrier bag containing five kilograms of high explosives and scoops out a couple of handfuls, which he warms up on a metal shovel held above a gas lamp.
Heating up a combustible mixture of old Russian ordnance and Pakistani fertilizer would be a dangerous thing to do nearly anywhere. When it’s done at the end of a long tunnel in the mountains of Afghanistan, it’s near suicidal.
After the mix has been warmed to its correct temperature and stuffed into a hole drilled in the rock face, into which a short, 45-second fuse is inserted, a group of three emerald miners turn tail and run through a tunnel 1.2 metres (4ft) high and more than a hundred metres long in a bid to evacuate the mine before the blast. More: