Our idea at iSparkle East Africa is to transform the way mining has traditionally been done to modern ways of mining and trade. We have to train the artisanal miners on how to ethically do mining and how to improve the livelihoods of the artisanal miners. It is generally a fact that small scale miners are horribly exploited by big buying companies and brokers. Our intent is not to kill the livelihood of the brokers but to make them deal ethically. This will help in improving not only their profits but also open up more clientele to them by being open and having a trail of how, by whom, and where the gem they want to broker has come from. There has to be a chain and identity of the gem they are selling and how it was sourced.
Our idea is to create a process on how to fund the small scale miners and in return, we have the first option to offer them a good price for their product. In this sense, they are sure that their products will be bought as soon as it is produced/mined. For a while now, we have provided a few artisanal miners with mining equipment like hoes, pixels, mining boots, helmets, protective clothing, ropes, ladders, large soil sieves (Chekecha), body harnesses for descending and ascending into and out of the mines and many such equipment. We also bring in the government mining geologist to give them talks on how to mine better, document their gems, and to avoid being exploited. In this way, we make some money not just by buying from them at very competitive prices but they gain in receiving mining equipment and knowledge from us at no cost to them.
We try as much as possible to be the best price buyers and this encourages them to produce more. After long research and observation, we found out that the Government Fund that is sometimes provided as a means to alleviate difficulty in mining for the miners is misused and more often, stolen. We do not compete with the government but complement the government’s efforts to provide a better working environment for the local Small Scale Artisanal Miners (SSAM). So private funding where agreements between the people funding (iSparkle EA) and the miners are made is more effective and makes lots of business sense. And this has been proved effective in the areas we operate in Taita County and other areas in Kenya.
In the long run, we intend to scale up our efforts to be able to provide heavy mining equipment after training the small scale miners on how to use them and how they will benefit. But this will largely depend on their forming associations that will have articles of associations, structures in leadership, and registration with the governments they operate in.
If you research the advocacy groups doing this, you find a lot of success for example TAWOMA (Tanzania Women Miners Association). Their success has been a focus study for many associations in the African mining communities and this is a group we are trying to emulate. We believe that we can play a huge role in transforming mining in the East African region and beyond. From our friends in the gemstone industry like Gianni Melas, Marvin Wambua, and Patricia Mweene, just to mention a few who are renowned advocates of ethical mining and non-exploitation of Artisanal miners, we want to be counted in this exceptional group of great minds.
We are sure that such a venture in Kenya would go a long way in developing the mining of high-value minerals such as gold and gemstones, which have great potential for growth and are largely extracted by the ASSM.
In this way, we can assist miners to procure essential equipment and/or scale-up production through loans. Scaling up of these efforts will translate to increased mineral production, employment, and local development, contributing greatly to industrialization, manufacturing, and increased contribution to the county and country GDP in the long run.
The government has a huge role to play in efforts to facilitate the creation of linkages among various sectors of the economy to encourage the growth of the business. Even as the government tries to raise funds through tax for development, building capacity in potential sectors such as the ASM could broaden revenue collection bases, ultimately reducing the tax burden on small scale miners.
iSparkle, in its other endeavor, is also a traditional marketing, and Gemstone trade platform mainly dealing with Gemstones, Gold, and Silver from the East & South African regions of the following countries. Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Madagascar.
We facilitate the acquiring of any minerals found in these regions in a professional and timely manner that is both time and cost-saving. Our smart marketing, understanding of the African terrain, and wide travel within and outside the continent gives us an advantage and defines who we are and what we do. We acknowledge it’s not easy dealing with miners, brokers, and sellers from the indicated regions but we endeavored to fill that gap and help customers get guaranteed satisfaction.
Founded in 2013 with just an idea and no knowledge of gem acquiring, trading, or faceting, we have grown to be a pretty amazing group that is reliable, dependable, and will always deliver. We believe in the Mantra that if iSparkle can’t, then nobody can!
Our offices are located in two continents, Africa, and the USA. In Nairobi, we are found at Rehema House 4th Floor on Standard Street. In New Jersey Downing Court, Westampton NJ 08060, USA.