Gold miming is the new industry that is keeping the country afloat with main beneficiary being what l call the “bank” .
The bank are those that buy Gold from the small scale mines through a long list of mediation or middleman that they themselves will never meet . Because of availability of money lots of cash a lot of antisocial activities take place which are “normal” to the miners themselves but are slowly destroying the environment and society itself .
I will briefly list them then cover the causes and where possible the solution.
1 land degradation
Gold is not always there sometimes you hit a dry spell because of different reasons ranging from hitting a barren level at the reef , striking water veins that stops mining itself or sudden collapse of shafts inorder to sustain themselves they start digging alluvial Gold in what is known as rubble or bhalaza found in loose stones this causes serious land degradation because it usually covers vast lands needs no capital just a shovel and a pick . When this happens no official can monitor or stop that because of two reasons first its the “bank “.
Second one this is source of livelihood very sensitive it’s a matter of survival here not just mere talk where else can they go or do to survive. Most claims are in remote areas access is difficult by law enforcement agencies but the damage to the environment is huge including tree cutting.
2 in proper use of PPE
The main purpose of PPE is to protect you not for officers proper use of PPE is crucial in the event of an accident.
Helmet is meant to cover the head must be worn all the time and firmly to the head just in case a loose stone falls to your skull or when you fall off on your way into the shaft . Most cases people fall head first and hit the ground with bare head when a loose Helmet has fallen off. Helmet should be tightened all the time .
Safety shoes .
Its now a new norm to use safety shoes and worksuits as fashion gear but the whole purpose of safety shoes is to protect toes and feet from any Falling objects , a proper safety shoe must have metal infront for those using gumboots should also use type with metal infront at all times whether hot or cold weather’s.
3 Disused shafts crisis
When a shaft is no longer safe for use it must be refilled and Lan rehabilitated which is theory because in reality all the rocks mined would have been transported to another what do you use to refill at whose expense. Such shafts usually have tempting pillars of rocks with visible gold .
Note this is a pillar left to support the shaft but it has tempting gold which cannot be resisted in tough times. Most fatal mine accidents are caused by these and both the mine manager and mine owner won’t be aware of such activities of mining a pillar until disaster strikes and life is lost and mine is suspended.
Child labour crisis.
Most activities if not all are done by self employed people no known employer hires people those looking for way of survival employ themselves.
The issue of age is no longer considered because kids ranging from 12 to 17 who drop out of school for different reasons end up employing themselves in this lucrative but dangerous business.
Since they are their noone can prevent child labor either they work at the mine or find a worse source of income in crime ranging from stealing, armed robbery to stock theft . This has no solution unless the ministry of social welfare intervens to solve not arrest . This is coupled with undocumented mine workers with absolute no form of registration from birth certificate upto national ID .
Reasons vary some never applied for an documentation because poverty and lack of knowledge some cases its the father without ID , then kid automatically no registration In worse cases upto grandson . Some cases particulars could have been lost while moving around or burnt in plastic houses .
Complex societies .
Since mining is now a source of livelihood people travel around to look for gold and end up building homesteads that complete a village with people from different backgrounds, different tribes , different cultures and norms thereby creating what l call complex societies.
These have have no culture a new culture is developed subconsciously where the bank is the law around . Respect for marriage people marry , dirvoce and remarry in such a short time such that marriage looses absolute value. Plight of the girl child is threatened child are there but rare . What’s common is child sexual exploitation .
The majority know its criminal offense but somehow ignore usually money (bank) is the silent control here .
These complex communities are haven of criminals though they are a small percentage of gold mine infact insignificant proportion but they hide there hiding from offense ranging from murder , robbery ; theft and so on…
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