How we manage our ethically minded supply chain.
We obtain our inventory from a network of small-scale miners and cutters spread all over Brazil, but mostly in the states of Minas Gerais and Bahia. In fact, although our office is located in the city of Rio de Janeiro, we’re constantly traveling to locate the best crystals and ensure that they are ethically sourced.
We prioritize buying directly at the mine or from family businesses that resell them at the nearest towns from the mines. With this close look at the supply chain, we not only make sure that all the stones come from reliable sources that take on good labor and environmental practices, but also that the wealth generated by their activities stays in the area and benefits the region and communities.
Where we get our stones from
- The absolute majority of stones in our catalog are mined in Brazil, notable exceptions are Amethysts and Ametrine from border regions in Uruguay and Bolivia.
- In Brazil we have built a network that encompasses the whole country, nevertheless we have three states where most of our pieces come from: Bahia, Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul.
- How are the Mines:
- Artisanal Mining: These are small operations, often conducted on a seasonal basis by individuals. These are the harder mines to track, given they are often in remote areas and can change hands and location over time. Also due to the self-employment nature of these mines, the workers do not necessarily take the protective measures with the proper seriousness. These miners usually rely on local miners co-ops for proper licenses and support.
- Small Scale Mining: These mines are usually operated year round and have a clear structure, thus are more easily regulated to operate on proper labor and environmental standards. They are usually owned by people that have long been involved in the business and were able to invest in the operation. The owners hold all the licenses and employ local labor, being responsible for their equipment, food and shelter. Besides the salary, many of the operations also reward the employees based on their finds.
- Large Scale Mining: Some of our stones come from large operations that use heavy machinery and a big workforce. These are the ones under most scrutiny by regulators and tend to have the best labor practices. Nevertheless, they are also the ones with the biggest environmental impact given the larger area they use and the intensive use of big vehicles. Notable stones from these kinds of operations are Rose Quartz, Blue Quartz and Amethyst.
- Things to keep and eye on: This is and overview of our sourcing practices, and for Brazil as a whole, and is higly dependent on the network your supplier has built. These points may not be applicable for similar operations in other countries.
Where we polish our stones at
- All polished and tumbled stones sold by Minec are processed in Brazil.
- For special stones such as Lithium Quartz, Citrine, Rutile and other inclusions we use a small network of polishers that work exclusively with us. We hand them the rough we buy at the mines and pay for the polishing service. For bulk items (Rose Quartz, Blue Quartz, Lepidolite, Black Tourmaline…) we most often do not buy the rough directly and work with polishers that already have the stones in their stock for custom orders to us.
- Operations are from 2 to 20 people, and we have direct contact to the responsible individuals and open access to the facilities. Most of them have been working with us for many years.
- Thigs to keep an eye on: Polishing Quartz can be harmful if proper precautions are not taken, because of the fine particles of Silica can cause lung disease if continually inhaled. Thus, it is important that the polishing facilities have good ventilation and the workers wear proper protective equipment.
Where our network is located
- We prepared a quick map to give you an idea of where our network of miners and polishers is located. Brazil is a vast country and we do our best to be as much as possible on the road maintaining our supply chain active. On this website all items have their origin specified, and if you have any questions regarding our sourcing, make sure to reach out!