With many western countries now banning ruby imports from Myanmar due to serious social injustices, the search is on for the next best high-quality source of rubies. Greenland is a rich source of the prized red gems, and a Canadian enterprise called True North Gems is in the process of opening a large-scale mining operation in the southern part of the country. While the mine will likely bring jobs and revenue to the sparsely populated nation, the local Inuit people are concerned about their rights to both the gemstones and the land on which they are found.
True North states that its development plans are beneficial to local people and economies. They have hired Inuit people and will be required to pay taxes and royalties. They also argue that the scale of their operation and the capacity of their equipment will allow them to find much higher quality stones than ever before, whose proceeds will benefit both the national economy and local communities.
However, the Greenland Inuit argue that they are already being shut out of their tribal land and prevented from collecting rubies, to which they believe they have an aboriginal right. Not only are rubies used for ritual purposes, but also the Inuits believe that they should be able to sell and reap direct benefits from the resources of their own land.
Brilliant Earth supports responsible mining practices and we will continue to watch this situation evolve. It is our hope that True North will truly make the commitment to their local community.