Jan Spille

Presented by: http://www.ujuzi.media/

NOT EVERYTHING THAT SHINES IS GOLD! A journey to conventional gold prospectors and Fairtrade gold-cooperatives in Africa – MULTIMEDIA EXHIBITION + PRESENTATION The world is experiencing a gold rush! Due to the high stock market price, more gold is being mined than ever before! Whoever can afford it, wears gold jewelry or stows gold bars safely into their safe. No later than when it comes to Smartphones, it becomes clear that this subject affects everyone! Concurrently, the catastrophic conditions in the gold mining industry are intensifying – child labor, social exploitation and severe environmental damage are becoming daily issues. Especially the high water consumption and the contamination of poisonous chemicals are increasingly becoming fundamental problems. The victims are the local population and worldwide around 15-20 million small gold prospectors. GOLD MINING IN AFRICA In the autumn of 2017, the Hamburg-based goldsmith, Jan Spille, visited the gold miners in Kenya and Uganda together with the filmmakers Jonathan Happ and Katja Becker: The living and working conditions in the gold mines were alarming. The miners descend into the dark tunnels and shafts in torn and inadequate clothing. They work without the protection of a helmet, and only with a headlight – Occupational safety does not exist. The gold ore is extracted from the rock by a hammer and a chisel. Subsequently, women wash the gold in wash bowls with mercury. Child labor is ubiquitous. The drinking water and the food in the whole region is toxic. Repeatedly, cases of cholera emerge. Diseases such as HIV, typhoid and silicosis are wide-spread. Fatal work-related accidents and mining accidents occur regularly. Extreme poverty is prevalent everywhere – no one is getting rich there! Contrary to this visit, the visit to SAMA proved completely different – the first Fairtrade certified mining cooperative in Africa. Together, they have achieved so much: Women and men work equally together. Child labor is forbidden. Higher wages secure a basic income. Community premiums are used towards social projects. Various new safety standards have been established. The workers wear protective gear, such as helmets, dust masks and work boots. The mines are secured by professional pillars. New technologies guarantee an environmentally friendly gold extraction without the highly poisonous mercury and cyanide. It becomes evident that SAMA – as a pilot project for Fairtrade mining – can become a great success. Presently, many gold prospectors in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania are following their example. WALK ON! MULTIMEDIA EXHIBITION In the exhibition “Not everything that shines is gold!”, visitors can embark on a journey into the gold mines of Africa. Films and pictures convey what is means to work in a mine and to be extremely burdened just for a few grams of gold. At the same time, the importance of an environmentally and socially fair mining industry is emphasized. With jewelry made from Eco+Fairtrade gold and silver the question arises if the mining industry can generally become sustainable and fair, and if there are more raw material concepts that can confront conventional gold mining sensibly.