"It's easy, you're looking for gold with your detector, you dig a shallow and you find! I bought two engines, a hammer for hammer, fuel, oil, coal to do all this work, I gave it to cousins when they go for gold if they find it, Youssouf (name changed), Tuareg from Kidal, is sitting in this small snack restaurant in the neighborhood of Sira Koro in Bamako. The young kidalois on a sandy beach, arrived only for a few hours in the capital, enjoys in his cold drink, hundreds of thousands of francs of CFA in their pocket quickly earned by selling some ten grams of gold, obtained from sand, from Sahara, often more than 40 degrees, to the sweat of the forehead. In Bamako, when you come to sell your gold, you have money in two hours There are many people there, there are a lot of people who are enriched because it is gold in this area, we are discovering a new city every week, after your happiness, "he continues.
Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso: countries in a gold medal
More than 1500 km from the capital, Kidal in the north of Mali, since the end of 2017, artisanal gold search has intensified and carried a large influx of local or foreign gold miners from various sources. African countries equipped with metal detectors, hammers, dots, shovels, compressors that have attracted this new financial unexpected outdoor situation. "Kidal followed only the neighboring countries. Everything started in Niger in 2014 with the Tagharab mines. There have always been stories about the golden rich basements of this area. People began to be interested in having trouble using the territories that were in Algeria , they were hunted or robbed by the Algerian army, and they found that with electronic devices it was possible to discover gold a few meters below the ground. They invested in detectors and began to search for gold, almost everywhere, "explains Youssouf.
Around Tessalit, Talhandak, Abeibari, Tinzaouatène, in the Tin-Essako circuit, and almost everywhere, when the detector signals the presence of this precious metal, hundreds of men are frightfully occupied, examining the grains of sand and stone of the sieve, the "golden yellow glow" they will give them a signal to dig, to dig a few meters deep to fill their bags of stone, sand, lands that they are hoping auriferous.
These miners are located around small mines, types of boreholes or ponds, limited to a few square meters, so as not to encroach on a neighbor. There is nothing to pay for, there is no monopoly, this craft mining gold is completely free. From an Islamic point of view, miners have to pay the Sunset, a kind of religious tax for the poor, but far from being obligatory, this "grace" is not generally honored. In these small mining towns, gold coats tirelessly search the earth day and night in the light of small generators. "In some locations there is more electricity than Kidal! Rhissa exclaims the resident of the city," people with the hope of finding gold will spend all their time digging, it's always on! We in Kidal have a day of spillage, in the cold season, the current from 8 am to 2 pm, they do not have this kind of problem, "he added with a smile.
Often in groups of two or four, sometimes even twenty, miners alternately dig, find a vein and extract stones. "It takes a lot of courage, the conditions are basic and it is not easy, because there is no water, the cities are sometimes up to 130 km from the city of Kidal, they need to be defeated. Whenever the city sees its gold exhausted, we go to another, develops, there is no definitive place. It requires patience and endurance, because people can not use dynamite, Barkhane does not allow, "says Youssouf.
In Kidal, the more money you need to exploit gold, the more you increase your chances of increasing your winnings; Large CMA leaders have also invested in the mining companies, they have come up with and used machines that can mechanize the production of gold and significantly increase their production. For example, count for about 75,000 fffa per hour for a bulldozer that can do the job. These large machinery for moving land, which were accessible to the rich miners, were mostly stolen in Gao, Timbuktu, or Ansongo, in large companies such as SATOM at the beginning of the crisis in 2012. They were returned to Kidal and since then used for building in the city or for obtaining gold.
"What you find must be brought to the outskirts of Kidal because at some locations the authorities have prohibited the processing of gold in order to prevent the miners from looting. If you do not have your own vehicle, trucks that take gold for you, you pay for transportation and your bags are sent to the crushed stone is crushed, the resulting fine powder is washed with mercury and water, this powder is placed in the machine to rotate, and when the gold is hard, it remains down and the other particles are on the top, thus obtaining gold. to National Geographic on gold in Alaska on television! "Youssouf exclaims: These machines that grind stones bring a lot of money into the pockets of some of the great CMA leaders they belong to. They work with Sudanese, Chadian and Burkinab experts in the sector." every bag that needs to be treated costs about 10,000 fffa, and often we bring dozens, even some bags, "describes our young kidalois.
Depending on the treatment, the more gold is cleaned, the more it raises in the carat, in this process we lose quantity, but we gain in quality. In Niamey, in Bamako, where gold buys a gram or a kilogram, we follow the world gold price, and karati can rise and lower prices. "Bamako repeats processes to make gold cleaner, weigh gold, give weight, carat and then buy it. If you have a little more than 23 or 30 carats, you can go to 30000 fcfa. Here in Kidal there are 17-18-19 karats found most, but they are often poorly evaluated, "says Youssouf.
A busy deal between Bamako and Dubai
Buyers come to Bamako, buy more kilograms of precious metals and transfer them through the specialized companies to the top spot in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. "It represents a large gold market in Dubai, and I can say that even the majority, because it is produced or goes through Mali, that the gold comes from Gabon, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and even Kenya," he confirmed. Doucouré, a Malian businessman, has been in golden activity between UAE and Mali for many years.
In one year, the mining industry in Kidal has created many activities, has created many jobs, has benefited those who are digging, as well as others who sell fuel, equipment, catering, small businesses, bakeries, butchers, those who carry gold as those , which they process and sell, the most vulnerable and the strongest. "Before exploiting gold, families who did not have anything today enjoy a great privilege, people could smash the house in a bank and instead built villas. Gold has created some kind of economic boom," says Rhissa, "the Tuaregs are nomads, they live from buying and sells their livestock, and their livestock is bought with gold every day. The whole market is formed. The economic impact on the city is very clear if someone who did not kidnap last year is going to be surprised at the number of construction sites has changed the state of mind is invested in Kidal. However, there are also some who struggle, but have lost, we do not have all the same opportunities, "she continues.
Those miners who had wealth that became millionaires in a few days, weeks or months, retain this heat of gold; some buy a strategic point of the city; they build the stores they rent out, others build houses; individual changes that change the image of a city, but do not necessarily benefit the entire community. "This is primarily personal enrichment, and if you manage to make 1 kilogram of gold, this is about 17 million francs of CFA." Keep it for yourself! "You do not think about things for others," Youssouf excuses. "On the other hand, this personal enrichment, which are created, contribute to the economic development of the city, this city will be profitable because the taxes that these trade will pay in the medium and long term, "says Rhissa.
"There are a lot of people in this business, everyone benefits," says Youssouf, "young, older people and especially fighters." This was a problem because all those fighters who were quickly rushing to DDR and made finally found their gold account and were not so in a hurry because now they have found something with gold in which money is, even more than in traffic and very well suits them. It adds.