Directly north of the road lies [[Isalo National Park]], which likely has large deposits of sapphires, but the area is nature protected where mining is not permitted.
Most mining activity occurs directly south east of the main road.
The mining work is primarely carried out by Malagasy workers run by small businesses, with resident dealers mostly from Sri Lanka and Thailand where the rough stones are usually sent for cutting.
There are various other smaller sapphire towns along the road south. Further information see the [[Madagascar Sapphire Rush]] article.