Gold Digger

IMG_3315-1 copy marked.jpgGold has been a precious metal for centuries. It has been used decoratively since 4000B.C and has retained its value over the years.

img_3425-6-markedThe metal in itself is beautiful & quite harmless.

img_3456-8-markedHowever, some methods used for mining can cause great harm to not only the miners, but also the environment & the people around the site.

IMG_3442-6 marked.jpgWith methods like open pit mining, huge amounts of rock and land are displaced, along with the toxic chemicals used to extract the gold, like mercury and cyanide.

IMG_3567-13 mark.jpgSites such as the Grasberg mine, owned mainly by the American company Freeport McMoran, have made such a large dent on the surface of Papua that it can be seen from space.

img_3337-1-dragged-markEnvironmental impacts from these mines include the clogging of streams and rivers and the release of tonnes of airborne mercury.

img_3686-18-thisWhen there is no form of water control, these sites become toxic lakes.

IMG_3596-15 mark.jpgThe Berkeley pit, once an open pit mine, is now so deadly, not even insects are able to survive in the surrounding area.

img_3577-14-markGold mining can also impact miners and the communities around the sites as the runoff from the waste may leak into drainage systems and water sources.

IMG_3345-2 mark.jpgThis is an especially daunting problem in areas where illegal gold mining occur.

img_3525-markIllegal sites in Colombia can release about 100 tonnes of mercury run-off into the rivers every year, poisoning more than 1 million people in the area.

IMG_3533-1 copy-1 mark.jpgContinued contact with mercury leads to organ failure, brain damage and impotence.

this-one-markHowever, some retailers have agreed to oppose ‘dirty gold’. Check out the list of those retailers here.



// Photography: @debmargaretha //



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