Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

Gbaomu Gold Mine

Last week I found yet another gold mine, buried deep in the bush, except this time it was much larger than normal. It was a nice, hard hour plus walk through the bush, and down a rarely used path until we came upon a picturesque creek winding through the forest.

We scrambled along the creed for a ways, over quite rugged rocks and miniature waterfalls until we came to a narrow diversion canal directing water to the side. Following that for a hundred meters, and we stumbled across the first of seven claims. There were a good thirty workers there, and they claimed to produce about 18 grams a day, working entirely by hand.

The miners reported that the mine was over "10 shovels" deep, so considering a standard shovel is about four feet long, that's pretty deep. The workers had dug down about ten feet to the bedrock, and were digging the rock with nothing but hand tools.

The workers are powered by palm wine, provided by the local brewer. Trust me, its sweet, but otherwise tastes like standard moonshine. Our guide, expecting to get some small, small, endulged in a good sized glass of palm wine himself. He was just about stone drunk on the way back, and couldn't stay on the path. We teased him about being drunk, which he denies, and confiscated his kitchen knife, returning it to the town chief when we made it back to Gbaomu.

It is hard to pick out on the photo, but check out the dozen or so gold flakes on the top half of this rock.






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