AP Investigation Links African Gold Mining to Swiss Companies

A year-long investigation by the Associated Press released recently has linked small scale gold mining by African children with the purchase by Swiss companies, with the gold ending up stored in Swiss banks. Despite a lawsuit filed against the AP by a company in Switzerland–(“Earlier this year, Decafin unsuccessfully sued The AP in Switzerland to prevent its name from being published in this story, claiming it would unfairly damage the company’s reputation“)–the story finally ran. The AP reports that approximately 20% of the gold mined each year is by small scale miners, including children, who are often treated as commodities and subjected to brutal working conditions and life risking activities in pursuit of providing luxury goods to the wealthy. It’s estimated that between 650 and 1,000 metric tons of mercury are used each year by 15 million miners in more than 40 developing countries to extract the gold, exposing miners and pollution the local and global environment. The AP has provided links to 4 video clips that were produced as part of their investigations. It has several scenes of children using mercury to treat the gold. The video clips are posted on the left hand side of this Yahoo page under the title “AP Interactive”, or you can try the direct link. Numerous news outlets covered the story, including ABC News, The Washington Post (includes short slideshow), and USA Today.