Gold mining in Burkina Faso

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Oct - 3 - 2011

Gold mining in the northern region of Burkina Faso Seguenega is a threat to the environment. Because of gold mining in the region, huge areas of land were cleared of vegetation.

The landscape of the northern municipality Seguenega in Burkina Faso, West African country is suffering from the damage being done to the environment due to increased production of gold.

Because of the high price of gold, more than 90% of the population in the region,is working in small mines. The vegetation had been cleared so much with land mines that managers have to travel over 30 km in search of trees. More wood is needed for shelter and food preparation.

In Seguenega are nine major gold mining areas, which employ mainly young men. When the site ceases to be gold mine owners closed it and find another.

Shaft controllers choose people who will dig. Each bag of excavated stones is workers property. Before starting work, they need to agree on the price for it.

The stones are then washed and passed through grinder and polisher.

Women sweep the powder remaining after turning and grinding. They wash it in hope of finding some gold.

Men work six days a week. On Fridays, the mine is closed. On this day, wages are paid.

In the photo: workers cutting trees for use in tunnels, shafts.

Vast areas are literally turned into a wasteland because of the spread of the mining industry.

Serious problem in the region is wind erosion.

Dust in the south is a contrasted to the Seguenega growing herbs in the north, which has a program to help «NGO Tree Aid».The purpose of this program is to encourage villagers to protect trees and not cutting them.

Women may be vulnerable group in society, especially if their husbands are working in the mines in the south. Women help with the work on projects such as, for example, the production of soap.

Aghir Boot – group leader for the production of soap in the village Sittig. She says that the soil in their region is dry and infertile, all the forests are cut down. New trees are planted – a guarantee of a better future for her family, business and society.

Shea in West Africa is often referred to as’ women’s gold. ” As part of the «Tree Aid» Women are trained to produce high quality oil, so it can be sold on the market. Earnings allow women to send their children to school, as well as buy everything they need for your family.

Honey production is one of the most successful activities of local people. Developing the mining industry has created high demand for honey in Seguenega. Typically, miners use honey in treatment of respiratory diseases.

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