LIFESTYLE

Dominican larimar miners have a dangerous job
The mines can run as deep as 120 meters (395 feet). Mud-covered men squirm through tight spaces in suffocating heat with only a string of dim lightbulbs in some parts of the passages. There are no helmets or protective goggles in sight.
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In this March 12, 2015 photo, larimar stone is exhibited at then Larimar Museum in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Local men who want to start mining for larimar typically group together and then seek an investor willing to pay for the necessary equipment and fuel. Miner Anibal Franquis said he has saved enough in his 23 years of digging to become an investor, putting up $40,000 at a time to sponsor an excavation project. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 18, 2015 photo, a miner descends into a mine to dig for the larimar gemstone in Las Filipinas, Barahona province, Dominican Republic. The mines can run over 100 meters (328 feet) deep and since 2006 four workers have died from asphyxiation and two others were lost. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 18, 2015 photo, miners work inside a mine for the blue-green gemstone known as larimar in Las Filipinas, Barahona province, Dominican Republic. The gem has provided a modest source of income for about 1,000 miners and their families since it was rediscovered four decades ago. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 18, 2015 photo, a miner walks inside a larimar gemstone mine, where the tunnel is lined with a pipe that brings in oxygen, in Las Filipinas, Barahona province, Dominican Republic. Wooden support planks protect the miners from collapse and snaking lines of perforated tubes deliver oxygen to them as they dig underground. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 18, 2015 photo, miners look at a recently extracted larimar stone in Las Filipinas, Barahona province, Dominican Republic. The local mining cooperatives have held the right to dig since the early 1980s. They donĂ¢t pay taxes and there are no official statistics about the economic impact of this growing informal industry. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 12, 2015 photo, jewelry maker Alexis Ramirez, 19, creates a piece using larimar gemstone at the back end of a private jewelry store in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Local craftsman Miguel Mendez said demand for larimar is strong in China, India and Russia, but he hopes the government's opening of a local jewelry school may help keep more larimar in the Dominican Republic, meaning greater profits for the local community. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 23, 2015 photo, jewelry craftsman Miguel Mendez shows silver rings made with the larimar gemstone at his recently opened workshop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The gemstone was named after Mendez's daughter Larissa, combined with the Spanish word for sea, "mar." Mendez is the man who rediscovered larimar in 1974 with help from Norman Rilling, a geologist who was in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 12, 2015 photo, earrings made with larimar gemstone are on display at a gift shop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The view of the Caribbean from the mountains where miners toil inspired the stones name _ mar coming from the Spanish word for sea and Lari from Larissa, the name of the daughter of local craftsman Miguel Mendez. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

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In this March 12, 2015 photo, Isaias Paredes sells larimar jewelry to a Spanish tourist in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Prices for larimar jewelry can vary from a few dollars for a bauble sold on a Dominican beach to thousands of dollars in an upscale store or abroad. (AP Photo/Ezequiel Abiu Lopez)

Dominican larimar miners have a dangerous job

The mines can run as deep as 120 meters (395 feet). Mud-covered men squirm through tight spaces in suffocating heat with only a string of dim lightbulbs in some parts of the passages. There are no helmets or protective goggles in sight.

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