In the Sahel, the number of informal mines is increasing as gold mining areas slip away from state control. Mali is emerging as a gold-buying hub for Sahelian countries, while Dubai has emerged as the main destination for artisanal gold production on the African continent. From hidden smelters in Bamako to artisanal mines in Ivory Coast and a major gold market in Dubai, Caroline Dumay investigates the transformation of the global gold industry.
The United Arab Emirates are singled out for turning a blind eye to the origin of the gold bars entering their territory. In response, international institutions such as the OECD are calling for stricter regulation of the industry.
This investigation, carried out for more than a year in several African countries, was triggered by the arrest of Franco-Malagasy “mules” at Johannesburg airport in December 2020 carrying 73 kilograms of gold in their luggage. The journalists involved in this documentary, in collaboration with Stefan Carstens, Graham Walsh, Anne-Fleur Lespiaut, Damien Koffi and Walid Ag Menani, tried to find out who the gold belonged to.