Lives at risk in the Philippine Gold Mines
Young boys process gold using plastic tubs and mercury along the banks of the Guinobatan River outside the town of Aroroy. A liquid sludge, made by tumbling gold ore and water in mechanized tumblers, is mixed with mercury then "panned." The sludge is discarded but the mercury is retained. Forcing the mercury through a nylon sieve made from remnants of a common umbrella produces a 1/4-inch amalgam pellet. The amalgam is then heated with an oxygenated gasoline torch to a temperature sufficient to evaporate the mercury revealing pure gold. ..During the process, some mercury is inevidably spilled and leaches into rivers, streams and groundwater. ..While mines process ore, another miner washes his hair...A pan containing the mercury used to process liquified gold ore...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.
- Price Gold Philippines 0039.JPG
- Copyright © 2012 by Larry C. Price. All Rights Reserved.
- Image Size
- 4032x3024 / 2.6MB
- Contained in galleries
- Child Labor: Philippines Gold Mining