// Mali: gold rush in Kenieba //
In Kéniéba, suthwestern Mali, thousands of gold seekers tirelessly dig the ground under a blazing sun in order to find the famous gem and finally escape poverty.
Seeking to escape the dangers of the North, the poor suburbs of Bamako, or the civil war, thousands of persons across the country have left everything to reach the gold region located 400 kilometers far from Bamako. Today, Kéniéba has become an Eldorado with inexhaustible reserves and looks like a giant termite mound.
Men but also children take turns in a complicated tangle of galleries that stretch to the horizon to extract stones, earth, dust. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 20 000 children work in the gold mines today in Mali.
At the risk of being buried under rubble and crushed die, the miners can drill the earth to more than 20 meters deep, slipping between poorly supported walls. Everyday there are hundreds of pounds of earth that are raised and transported in bags carried by the miners themselves to the crushing zone to extract the gold dust.
According to the Malian Ministry of Mines, the amount of artisanal gold exported annually is approximately 4 tons, valued at at 168 million euros. A resource that attracts all desires in a country on the brink of implosion and that is to become the third largest gold producer in Africa after South Africa and Ghana.