3d pan white

Mining in Kailo

The mine was a challenge to my preconceptions. In Kailo they mine wolframite and casserite. Before the war the mines were operated by a state run company, the defunct infrastructure can be glimpsed under bushes and vines. The company still has a smart office in the centre of the village, but instead of mining they take a percentage of the proceeds of the artisan miners and the traders. Most of the workers are from the area, although I met some from the province of Kasai. Children were working with their parents, helping with panning for the ore, carrying and selling goods to the workers. The mine is made up of widely dispersed open pits. Most pits were 4 to 10 metres deep with the occasional 25 metre pit. Next to the pits were the temporary huts of the workers. There did not appear to be the squalor or disease that we find in gold mines. Although there were ‘maison de tolerance’ as they are politely called here with the associated risks of sexual diseases, AIDS and child prostitution.

As we left the mine we crossed two four wheel drive cars carrying men from a British company interested in investing in the mine.

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Taken on October 31, 2007