The Ethiopian highlands are often called “the roof of Africa”. It’s a rugged, breathtakingly beautiful landscape and a discovery in recent years has got precious gem experts around the world excited: opals.
Ethiopia’s government has supplied the miners with basic tools and says it wants to improve health and safety standards. Miners who have formed cooperatives told Al Jazeera they have been able to save money to buy cars and houses.
Ethiopia’s opal industry currently generates around $25m a year.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from the Wollo district in the country’s northeast.