Stumbled across, and almost into, a group of young men in Mehfiz, somewhat near Khamlia in the Sahara. These guys were at an open crevasse, mining for coal and quartz by hand. They did have some heavy machinery near by but almost all of their work was performed manually. Parts of the opening in the ground led to a pitch black emptiness.
This part of the Sahara was covered with hardscrabble consisting of sharp black obsidian and even sea shells, carpeting the desert floor. Nearby were the ruins of a fort and barracks for the French army from the turn of the century. This area as is true of a good part of Morocco is rich in minerals. The King of Morocco has been patient and careful in exploiting these resources.