Artisanal gold miners pan for gold at the Bantakokouta gold mine, south-east Senegal.
John Wessels/AFP via Getty Images
Given the dangers of mercury toxicity and the high exposure of miners and their communities, solutions are needed to reduce their exposure.
In a world where economic sanctions make trade in US dollars almost impossible, gold has offered a way to evade these restrictions.
A 2kg gold nugget found near Ballarat in 2019.
Minelab Electronics / AAP
A ‘second gold rush’ has seen amateur and professional miners return to Victoria with modern technology.
Two trucks transport gold ore from Barrick Cowal Gold Mine in New South Wales, Australia.
Jason Benz Bennee/Shutterstock
A gradual drawdown of gold mining is a critical step towards sustainability.
Loss of formal employment in the mining industry and drought conditions in neighbouring countries are some of the factors that drive illegal mining.
The Washington Post via Getty Images
Artisanal gold mining is highly organised and rule-bound. Men, women and even children participate a hierarchy sustained by a web of buyers, sponsors and customers.
Bisimwa Hardy, 22, emerges from a shaft at Luhihi in South Kivu with a bag full of stones destined to the crusher to separate the stone from the gold.
Photo by Guerchom Ndebo/AFP via Getty Images
As a dynamic and mechanising form of production, artisanal mining is in more direct competition with large corporations than is commonly perceived.
Zambia’s mining industry is highly unionised but the unions are too weak to protect workers’ interests.
Through their attempts to assist miners with their daily needs, Zambian unions enable lower wages and worse working conditions.
Fool’s gold, or pyrite, is made of worthless iron disulfide, but can contain tiny amounts of the real thing. Using an ‘atom probe’, research has uncovered a new way gold atoms can hide in pyrite crystals.
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) took this photograph of numerous gold prospecting pits in eastern Peru.
(NASA/SS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center)
NASA satellite images reveal the extent of gold-mining in Peru. This information can be used to shut down illegal mining and prevent environmental destruction and contamination.
Mercury is a nasty toxin that harms humans and ecosystems. The gold and sugar-cane industries have tackled the problem, and it’s time for coal to follow suit.
An abandoned gold mine in the Guyana rainforest.
kakteen / shutterstock
Mining strips nitrogen from the soil and means the forest struggles to grow back even after mines are abandoned.
Going underground in Camarines Norte province, Philippines.
You would think that anyone in the gold industry would be getting rich right now, but informal miners in many countries are missing out.
Sandra Wilson in the Love Chemistry Laboratory, Edinburgh, working with gold chloride.
There’s 33 times more gold in the average handset than in the equivalent amount of ore. Yet the vast majority is never recovered.
Antonio, from the Yanomami village of Watoriki, photographed in November 1992. After contact with Brazilian society in the 1970s, more than half the Yanomami population died from infectious diseases.
There are telling parallels between the current pandemic and those that decimated indigenous populations in the post-Columbian era in the Amazon.
Efforts to regulate the lucrative mining venture are not proving successful due to collusion and corruption.
Mining is a highly destructive endeavour towards our environment but demand for gems and minerals is non-stop; early colonial relationships continue to define these industries.
Much of the devastation of our globe’s natural resources traces its origins to early colonialism. These relationships continue to define the extraction of resources that severely impact ecosystems.
Gold is one of 12 confirmed elements on the periodic table whose discoverer is unknown.
Old mine sites suffer many fates, which range from simply being abandoned to being incorporated into towns or turned into an open-air museum in the case of Gwalia, Western Australia.
The industrial patterns of mining shaped many Australian towns, which found varied uses for disused mine sites. The mining boom ensures the challenges these sites present will be with us a long time.
Ranomafana National Park.
A recent spate of attacks have left local people scared for their safety in rural Madagascar, threatening vital conservation work in the nearby rainforest.
In just a few years, Burkina Faso has become the fourth largest gold exporter in Africa. But with 43% of the population still below the poverty line, what are the local benefits?