The gold's rush

Selected subject to the Talent Award 31 reporting category. 2007.

Gold just beat his previous record of 1980, namely $ 865 per ounce, and some experts believe it could reach $ 900 very quickly. After the depression of 2000, prices have doubled in five years, boosted by buoyant global demand.
But who is behind this massive economy?.
Of multinational gold mining supported by major commercial banks to small-scale producers, the African continent is now the main supplier of gold on the planet.
Faced with a steady decline in world cotton prices, the authorities decided to focus on the revival of mining activities. The latest financial turmoil has also benefited the famous safe haven in a depreciation of the dollar and inflation fears.
Although it is live or rather survive a lot of people, the traditional gold mining is completely absent from his public policies that are turning more towards ajourd'hui multinationals whose states are often shareholders. The accoissement competition added to the regular collapse of tunnels some countries have decided to create anti-fraud brigades to control the amount of gold extracted on an informal basis and improve the tax collection of wires.
But since 1990, when neglect of the yellow metal has left the field open to researchers craft, and encouraged the proliferation of informal trading houses around abandoned or unused sites, gold continues to attract so many people. Seduced by the lure of winning a deposit new, or place of last resort, a crowd of migrants, single or family continues to flow in search of the precious metal. Temporary cities lack water and electricity grid are created spontaneously as soon as the news of the discovery spread through the nugget region.

Left early this morning Banfora, and after two hours of bush taxi, we arrived at dégué-Degu, south-western Burkina Faso, in the province of Houet. Dust covers everything about her tan, and sweltering heat, we discovered that slum population of 20 000 lost in the bush. Dégué-Degu, literally "slowly but surely" in Dioula, was created five years ago when the older mines in the region as Moussobadougou no longer bringing sufficient.

The engine of the old 404 off, everything seems calm here. It is noon and the sun is at its highest point. Only a water cart pulled by a donkey that breaks the silence of the harmattan, which spins. We will be staying with Ali, the "station master" it no longer starts at the mine but sells gasoline for hooded and other rare motorcycles. The way of working miners, so the legionnaires from elsewhere, has not changed since 2000 years and the tools remain rudimentary. "Here, water is sold for 100 FCFA (0.15 euros) on a 20 liter because he must go and look at five kilometers. Few miners can allow himself this luxury. Look what I picked up today! ". We dive then head into the bowl of a father of four young children who just spent eleven hours at work. "I will take a maximum of 400 FCFA (0.60 euros) this crumb, and it will still not sufficient enough to feed my family" he concluded. From 7 years the child down in the hole, the government doing nothing to educate the same children who have the misfortune of living in a temporary camp.
"At first you see, where people live, this whole area was turned over and searched. Today, prospectors are looking for other places outside the village, around the winter crops, "says the village chief. Because during the wet season, some of the miners working in the fields, allowing them to have a bit of millet and sorghum in reserve. "Here we are far from all, and lack of water, hygiene , precarious housing, and dust make life very difficult. Not to mention the diseases that develop during the wet season, such as malaria, tuberculosis or typhoid that you can go to receive treatment as well Banfora provided out 10,000 francs (15 euros) from the reserve, "explains a street pharmacist.

Still, despite some conflicts between artisans and communities related to greed and a different social organization, moreover, people laugh, talk and help each other. By late afternoon, men come to sell the poor harvest of the family to buyers throughout the city and mandated by the boss that controls the production of several gold mining sites in the region. Thanks to his men that mission at the various sites, it also provides security and order, in partnership with the village chief. (Still used by the "head of the village" despite the population, and because of the eccentric of the city). In the evening, these men find themselves in video club that will loop of Chinese films and pornographic.

"If you are lucky enough to stumble on a pebble, the only thing to do is nothing to tell anyone not to come home and pack your bags, but to go away as soon as possible if you escape from a prison not to attract someone's attention. Otherwise, you're dead. "Confides Amadou prospector-hairdresser moved here three years ago.

Emmanuel Blivet 2007.