Artisanal Mining in Mali
By: Sonia Patel and Varshni Muralidharan
What is Artisanal Mining?
Artisanal mining is a type of mining that is not associated with other large scale corporations, it involves small hand tools and primitive methods. In Mali, there are multiple gold digging sites where kids as young as six help dig shafts with pickaxes, lift and carrying heavy bags of ore and pan gold with an amalgamation process involving mercury. Yes- mercury, an extremely toxic substance that these children hold in their bare hands as they coagulate the gold dust. Most do not know of the dangers they are submitting themselves to and their employers do not care to address it.
They May Not Be Alone...
What you can do
Businesses and foreign trade allows this gold to be sold without anyone ever knowing the illegal sources it came from. Next time your at the jewelry store make sure to but only fair trade gold and help the Malian children.