Locals rush in with shovels after mountain made of gold-rich ores found in DR Congo
- A video was widely shared on social media in which dozens of villagers were seen using shovels and other tools to dig ores on a mountain to extract gold.
Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo had to announce a ban on mining activities after a gold rush in South Kivu province drew thousands of diggers to the site. A video was widely shared on social media in which dozens of villagers were seen using shovels, other tools, and even bare hands to dig ores on a mountain to extract gold. Another clip showed locals washing the dirt off the yellow metal and collecting it in another container.
“A video from the Republic of the Congo documents the biggest surprise for some villagers in this country, as an entire mountain filled with gold was discovered! They dig the soil inside the gold deposits and take them to their homes in order to wash the dirt& extract the gold,” Ahmad Algohbary, a freelance journalist, wrote on Twitter as he shared a video.
The mines minister of the province, Venant Burume Muhigirwa, later confirmed that the discovery of gold-rich ore in Luhihi led to the gold rush, putting pressure on the small village situated 50 kilometres from the provincial capital Bukavu, according to news agency Reuters. Muhigirwa said that a decree was issued on Monday to suspend all mining activities in and around the village and miners, traders, and members of the armed forces of DRC were asked to leave the mine sites until further notice.
Artisanal gold mining is common across the African nation in which miners use rudimentary tools to extract minerals. Muhigirwa said the temporary suspension of mining activities in the area would allow authorities to identify the artisanal miners to ensure they are properly registered with mining regulators. Last year, a UN Group of Experts said that North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces reported official production of just over 60 kilograms of artisanal gold in 2019, yet exported over 70 kg, suggesting a massive underreporting of production.
(With inputs from Reuters)