The Human Cost of Gold | National Geographic Magazine: Illegal Gold Miners Ruin Landscape | Prestea, Ghana, Africa

Illegal Gold Miners Ruin Landscape | Prestea, Ghana, Africa

Fevered by hopes of striking it rich, illegal miners claw sacks of “money stone” –gold ore- from the Pra River in Ghana. Their toll feeds the world’s hunger for gold, and leaves a ruined landscape in its wake.

In another part of Indonesia – the province of Kalimantan, an investigation by the Indonesian government’s National Human Rights Commission in 2001 substantiated claims that Indonesian military and company security had forcibly evicted local small-scale miners and torched villages from 1989 to 1992 to make way for UK- and Australia-based Rio Tinto’s PT Kelian gold mine.  Local miners were never compensated for loss of livelihood, while the 440 families who were physically displaced to make way for the mine received only minimal compensation for their losses. The forced relocation, physical attacks, and loss of livelihoods that can be associated with the land expropriations are all serious human rights violations.

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