Burkina Faso's Gold
Burkina Faso is experiencing a gold rush
For at nearly 50,000 euros per kilo, gold remains the eternal symbol of wealth. In Burkina Faso, artisanal mines are springing up to take advantage of this gold rush. With children as young as 11 working in the mines, there is a dark side to this global business.
Gold has long been a precious commodity, and the market today is thriving. Every year, some 1,200 tons are recycled and another 3,500 tons extracted from the earth, then made into bars and sold, sometimes as safety deposits for banks like HSBC and JP Morgan. This gold is extracted in mines in countries like Burkina Faso, the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa. Some 10,000 people live off these mines, many of whom are children. With terrible working conditions, accidents are frequent. 'It’s just like that. We’re scared but we have to find something to eat,' says one gold miner. Yet for Patrick Gagnon, a Quebec emigrant now working in the gold business, gold mining has been a tremendous opportunity. 'When you hit your stride, there's a lot of money,' he says. Conditions are changing, however. NGOs like Terre des Hommes travel around the mines and identify those who are under 18, offering them new opportunities where they can learn computer skills.FULL SYNOPSIS