Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Are Africans Really This Bored?

I've been slow posting lately because I've had to fix up some deficiencies with an NI 43-101 report I've been writing as well as deficiencies in a recently submitted paper.

Today's topic is about gold and where it comes from. I will show you some images from artisanal mining activities in West Africa.

This goes with the introduction, as one of the main deficiencies I had to fix were statements about artisanal mining on the property which was the subject of the NI 43-101. In particular, the securities commission took exception to my statement that vigorous artisanal mining activity was an indicator of the presence of gold.

No, apparently these guys dig holes because of all the time they have on their hands after they are done fishing, hunting, farming, or making things. 

They are just bored.

These particular bored guys are aimlessly digging holes at the edge of the Iduapriem mine property in western Ghana (owned by Anglogold Ashanti, a company in which I own no shares, do not work for, do not consult for, and have no relationship with).

Just whiling away the empty hours . . .

It's hard to get a sense of scale for some of these holes. But I would guess that a lot of people have been bored for a very long time.

Artisanal diamond diggings, Bonsa River, western Ghana.

Notice the line of stakes. You may well be very bored, but you are only allowed to relieve your boredom in a fairly small area. Don't think of alleviating your boredom on someone else's plot.

Here are some Ghanaians who are so bored they are pumping water out of an old mineshaft prior to entering it.

Artisanal gold mining activity near Akwantambra, in western Ghana. Don't know who has this property now.

Parts of West Africa are so rich with gold you can literally find some anywhere. Mining it profitably is, however, something else.

Another galamsay (artisanal mining) camp in western Ghana, about 5 km northwest of Axim. This land is currently held by Adamus Resources (no shares, no shorts, no work, no consult, no relationship apart from having a couple of beers with one of their geologists).

Yes, that man is wearing a life jacket. In the middle of the jungle.

Just to show you the lengths to which these people will go to alleviate their boredom, here is a punchplate screen (hand-punched through steel--ok, ok, they used a tool).

This is to separate the gravels from the sands.

Perhaps you get bored too. Have you ever tried digging holes?

Life was pretty boring in the 17th century too. Here, the locals from what is now called Sawoma village, in western Ghana, relieve their boredom by taking a swim in the lower Ankobra River, gathering up the rocks at the bottom, then grind them and pan for gold.

Evidence that South Africans get bored too (Big Hole in Kimberley).

People were pretty bored in Sierra Leone too.

This field is by the Makele River in central Sierra Leone--the holes are from previous artisanal gold mining.

The Sula Mountains are in the background.

Artisanal miners have mined out gold-bearing quartz veins from various hills in the Sula Mountains.

The rock is crushed, and carried to the top of a sluice carved into the side of the mountain.

This little channel is dug down the side of the hill. Natural foliation in the bedrock is used to create riffles. 

The locals collect gold stuff from the pockets between the riffles. They have no pumps, so the site is only active during the rainy season.

Ho hum.

Climbing over piles of tailings (crushed rock) in the Yirisen river, central Sierra Leone. The rock is excavated from nearby hills, and avalanched into the river.

The locals crush the rock and sluice the fines.

Gold from the Butre River, western Ghana (below). 

Anybody think Africans are interested in this stuff? Hello?


  1. Priceless! Certainly relieved the boredom.

  2. hi from Africa but the laws stop us having as much fun as yall from usa but im keen bt no one does it around here