Accidents have been linked in recent weeks in several gold mines in Guinea. On March 1, more than a dozen people died in the collapse of a gallery in the Kounsitel area, in the north of the country. RFI was able to visit a handicraft gold-plating place near Kouroussa, further east, where workers take all risks to bring the precious material to the surface.
With our special correspondent in Kouroussa, Matthias Raynal
The ground is a huge Swiss cheese. The men rush in to pull baskets filled with soil which they then pass through a metal detector.
“We came here to win gold. There’s gold here, but it’s deep.” At a depth of more than ten meters, Lanfia Kourouma is a gold miner, every nook and cranny of his skin and clothes are covered with white dust.
“It’s been six or seven years since a fatal accident occurred. The last one was caused by alcohol. A hole had started to become dangerous. A man stayed at the scene after work. He was drunk. He saw that there was some gold and he wanted He stayed there, and he who was with him lost his leg. ”
Lanfia Kourouma shows us a well whose bottom is not visible. “We go down to the bottom like that. Cavities in the wall form an impromptu staircase. A crack appeared. “As you can see, there is a trail …”
Before that, Lanfia Kourouma was the driver. He would like to return to this job and stop washing gold. Too difficult, too dangerous, he says, but that is his last hope for survival today.