Precious Metal. Cheap Labour.
Director: Tyson Sadler
Takoradi. Western Ghana.
This film documents the use of child labor in Ghana’s artisanal, or unlicensed, mines, where most mining takes place. Everyday, thousands of children work in hazardous conditions - violating Ghanaian and international law. They pull the gold ore out of shafts, carry and crush loads of ore, and process it with toxic mercury. Most child laborers are between 15 - 17 years old, but younger children also work in the mines.
Mercury is highly toxic - it causes damage to the nervous system with just minor exposure. Inhaling mercury vapour has harmful effects on the nervous system. Children can often end up with uncontrollable muscle tremors.
We are part of the supply chain without even knowing it. Major gold refiners from Switzerland, the UAE, and other countries use artisanally mined gold from Ghana. After the gold is refined, it's sold to banks, jewelry businesses, and the electronics industry. You might even have some of this gold inside your smartphone right now.