Cempaka mine in Indonesia is the largest diamond producer in Indonesia and hosts about 500 miners who fight to find the world’s next massive diamond. Miners range from 17 to 70 and are constantly in danger with potential landslides from soil erosion and confrontations between miners over territory to dig. 400 miners have died since 2000 yet some have been working the mine for as much as 50 years now in hopes of making their break.
Since 2005, 50,000 carats of gem quality diamonds have been found at Cempaka mine and since then the site has been turned into a tourist destination to sell gems to travelers. On my travels to Sri Lanka, I came across a similar experience where you can watch people mine for gems in the mud and they would then walk you through a very nice jewelry store. Its a tourist trap definitely, but it opened my eyes to the extent that these old gentlemen would go to make money for their families. The pits of cold mud and constant heavy lifting they have to endure is unbearable.