As demand for gold skyrockets, artisanal mining and smuggling ramps up, financing conflict and corrupt politicians, risking human lives and destroying the environment. The Africa Report tracks the precious mineral on its journey from ¬ rebel-controlled areas to jewellery stores across the world.
The headlong rush for that glistening metal is one of the ugliest market forces in the world.
On July 14, the COVID-19 crisis prompted the World Gold Council to pronounce: ‘Investors have embraced gold in 2020 as a key portfolio hedging strategy. […] the pandemic will likely have a lasting effect on asset allocation. It will also reinforce the value of gold as a strategic asset.’ By 5 August gold had hit its highest price ever, at $2,048 an ounce.
While traders moved bullion at the press of a button, in Kamituga, a mining town in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), disaster struck.
In the early afternoon of 11 September at least 50 young creuseurs, or artisanal miners, drowned in a river of mud when torrential rains flooded the ‘Detroit’ gold mines to the south of the city. Only one survivor was found by the hundreds of local people who flocked to the scene to help.
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