In 1998, a peasant in the village of Ilakaka in southern Madagascar discovered that there was a large quantity of sapphire under the ground.
In the space of a few days, thousands of men and women had come to set up camp, hoping to dig up a few grams of this precious stone from the ground and make their fortune. Today, Ilakaka has become a boomtown of wooden shacks haphazardly clustered around Highway 7. According to the local authorities, around 20,000 people live in Ilakaka, although this figure is only an estimate.
Over the last few years, Thais, Sri-Lankans, Europeans and Americans have also settled in Ilakaka. Familiar with this type of business, they know that there is an international market for this particular sapphire, whose quality is said to be the best in the world.
Geologists estimate that the Madagascan deposit, one of the world’s largest, will be exploitable for another fifty years.
Reports made in Madagascar between August 29th and September 5th 2007
(text and caption in french inside the book)