Sourcing

Gem Legacy Targets Silicosis in Miners for Next Initiative

SourcingApr 07, 2022

Gem Legacy Targets Silicosis in Miners for Next Initiative

The nonprofit will buy masks and filters for 5,000 miners in Merelani, Tanzania, to prevent the inhalation of silica dust.

Gem Legacy is raising money to prevent silicosis in Tanzanian miners. Pictured is an artisanal gem miner in a Merelani tanzanite mine.
Royal Oak, Mich.—Gem Legacy is tackling silicosis next.   

The industry nonprofit announced the launch of a fundraising initiative to prevent silicosis in the tanzanite mining areas of Merelani, Tanzania.

Silicosis is caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust, resulting in irreversible damage to the lungs and often premature death.

Tanzanite miners are prone to it due to the geology of the region and the largely underground, enclosed mining practices that often happen without sufficient ventilation, the organization said.

Gem Legacy has committed to buying masks and filters, which cost $30 per set-up, for 5,000 miners to help stop the inhalation of silica dust.

The miners will also go through training on silicosis and why the equipment is essential.

The JCK Industry Fund has awarded Gem Legacy with a grant for the initiative’s seed money.

But even with that funding and the money Gem Legacy has earmarked for the project, there is still a $66,480 deficit.

“We are so passionate about reaching our goal for this important initiative,” said Gem Legacy board member Rachel Merisheki. “We are asking 2,216 members of the industry to fund one mask and filter to reach this goal. Together, we can deliver life-saving equipment to the members of our industry who mine one of its most cherished gemstones.”

For more information, email info@gemlegacy.org or visit GemLegacy.org

 Related stories will be right here … 
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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