FIELD VIDEO & REPORT

Ruby and sapphire rush near Didy, Madagascar (April – June 2012)

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By V. Pardieu

(First published October 14, 2012) In April 2012, a gem rush occurred in northeastern Madagascar about 25 km in the jungle south of Didy village, in the south of Ambatondrazaka.

Ruby and sapphire rush near Didy, Madagascar: In April 2012, a gem rushoccurred in northeastern Madagascar at coordinates 18°20’16” S, 48°33’53” E, located ~25 km south of Didy village, which is situated 50 km south of Ambatondrazaka. An expedition lead by author VP  investigated the new find on April 18–27, 2012.

The rush began after some parcels of fine blue sapphires were sold into the local market by gold miners in early April in Moramanga,  Ambatondrazaka and subsequently in the capital city of Antananarivo by gold miners and people working for a timber logging company active  in the area. The deposit appeared to be situated inside the Ankeniheny–Zahamena corridor, a temporary protected area where mining is  prohibited. Thousands of Malagasy miners and hundreds of buyers rushed to the area, and for a few months the government was unable to  control illegal mining in this jungle region.

The drive from Ambatondrazaka to Didy was made challenging by patches of deep mud. Soon after our arrival in Didy, we were notified by local security forces that all foreigners had to return to Ambatondrazaka in an effort “to de-motivate the local population from participating in illegal mining.” Nirina Rakotosaona, the only Malagasy national of our team continued alone to the mining area. From Didy, the journey started with a three-hour boat trip up a local river tributary, followed by 10–15 hours’ walk through dangerous and dense jungle terrain.

    Read more details downloading the following pdfs and Gem & Gemology publications:

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    Ruby and sapphire rush near Didy, Madagascar (April - June 2012)

    An expedition lead by author VP investigated the new find on April 18–27, 2012.
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