Gold mining in Zamfara

Zamfara is a state in Nigeria. The capital is Gusau.

It has an inter-state border with Sokoto and an international one with Niger Republic.

Significant deposits of gold are found in Zamfara.

People work in the gold mines in Bagega and the neighbourhood.

Zamfara gold miners

They embark on artisanal gold mining: small scale mining
done with rudimentary tools.

They dig deep to find the rock and then crush these rocks to find the gold ore.

a boy from a bold mine in Zamfara

Inside the rocks are deposits of other metals, including lead,
which has poisoned many of the children in the village.

Children in affected areas are exposed to this dust when they are laboring in the processing site, when their relatives return home covered with dust on their clothes and hands, and when the processing occurs in their home.

Children are also exposed to this highly toxic lead in contaminated
water and food sources..

Work on the rocks continues

Since 2010 ongoing, widespread, acute lead poisoning in Zamfara
state has killed over 400 children.

Considered the worst outbreak of lead poisoning in modern

The level of lead in some homes is up to 23,000 parts per million. But the safe level of lead is below 400 parts per million

Bagega is the largest and most contaminated village.

A piece of gold

The federal government of Nigeria, Zamfara state government and international partners had worked towards solutions to the issues.

Human Rights Watch, Marcus Bleasdale, 2011