The Middlemen

When it comes to mining for tiger’s eye, there is a loose, shady group of men who make their money by ensuring the people who actually dig raw rock out of the ground get the very least possible for their efforts.

These middlemen work with and against each other in an ongoing, every-changing striving for profits.  Some are local farmers who allow artisanal mining on thier property, others keep good relationships with the Chinese men who pay for raw tiger’s eye to be shipped to China.

These middlemen have invented a scale for assessing the quality of tiger’s eye which is confusing and really designed to confuse the miners who are mostly barely literate and very desperate.

Fights and arguments between miners are not discouraged as this keeps the miners divided and so more manageable.

Every month, containers can be seen being loaded by hand from sheds in and around Prieska with raw tiger’s eye.  The containers are then driven to the nearest harbour and shipped off to China.  Our country’s wealth is being sold for pittance.

Miners get paid as little as a dollar a kilogram for the stone.  The middlemen can double or treble the profits.

The Prieska Protocol is designed to offer miners an alternative that gets locally mined stone to be cut and polished locally in Prieska, and to share the value of the final selling price down the value chain.

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