Price Gold Philippines 0097.JPG
Children work alongside adults at the Panique mining area about 10 kilometers outside the town of Aroroy on the Island of Masbate. Masbate is about 350 miles south of the Philippine capital of Manila. The land is owned by CGA Mining Limited, a large-scale mining company based in Australia...CGA allows small-scale miners to informally work property they own. On this day, miners working a small-scale operation for four months were told they had to leave the shafts they had dug to make way for heavy equipment and bull dozers who were filling in the area to built an access road. ..Miners, families and children work to dig ore and pan the stream at the top of the mine shafts. Young teens were working inside he 30-foot-pits with hammers and picks to fill plastic flour sacks with gold ore. ..CGA company guards and local police ordered the eviction and check the shafts to make sure all miners are gone as a bulldozer moves in to cover the pits. ..A woman is the last to leave and glances a the machine as she hurrays away with her belongings...On a hillside, a four-year-old boy cries as he carries a small sack of ore to a ridge above the mining area...Story Summary:.Small-scale gold mining in the Philippines uses mercury and cyanide to extract elemental gold from ore extracted from mines and pits dug by hand. Very young children, some as young as four, are put to work at less dangerous but still rigorous tasks in the gold mining areas. These include panning in streams or rivers and hauling ore sacks that can weigh up to 60 pounds. Children often play near mechanized equipment and highly toxic mercury and cyanide. These chemicals, used to help extract elemental gold from ore, are leached into nearby watersheds where fish and other marine life, mainstays of the Philippine diet, are poisoned. The high price of gold and the poor economy in many developing countries has led to an increase in small-scale gold mining throughout the world.