My country is rich, but I am not." This is perhaps one of the most powerful statements brought by the documentary "The Gold Fever" and which best illustrates the duality of artisanal mining in Mozambique. In Cabo Delgado, the population's extreme poverty coexists, side by side, with the immense wealth of the subsoil. How to resist such an opportunity to change your life? And to what extent does this supposed "el dorado" really contribute to the development of the region? In this film we can see that the gold rush that took place in Northern Mozambique has, in fact, terrible consequences for the population. And not only for those who are directly engaged in mining, but also for the communities that reside there and for the environment.
Mozambique, and in particular the province of Cabo Delgado, has seen an increase in recent years in relation to the exploitation of mineral resources. Two types of activity coexist: the formal extractive industry (mainly focused on the extraction of oil, gas, coal and other fossil minerals) and small-scale, informal artisanal mining. The increase of artisanal mining is largely associated with the country's underdevelopment. More than half of the Mozambican population lives in situations of absolute poverty, with agriculture being the main source of survival. The scarcity of rainfall, the precarious techniques used and climate changes have resulted in reduced production and the consequent deterioration in living conditions. This is compounded by widespread unemployment, especially among young people and the lack of opportunities to continue with studies.
In a context like this, the risky activity of artisanal mining presents itself as the only way out. But the evidence shows that it brings with it serious problems. In addition to the high risk of death by burial, artisanal mining is carried out in extremely precarious working conditions and far from any health facility. The most used technique for the extraction of gold involves the use of mercury, a substance highly harmful to health and with high pollutant potential. Health facilities are not prepared to respond to emergencies and health problems inherent to this activity, and crime, prostitution, child labor and violence proliferate. Side effects of an activity in which to make a living, you have to risk losing it every day.
Since its debut until today, the documentary "The Gold Fever" has been shown in more than 30 countries and has been awarded with more than a dozen international awards. All information about this production at https://lafiebredeloro.org/pt-pt/.
Gender: Documentary Cinema
Direction: Raúl de La Fuente
Production: medicusmundi and Kanaki Films
Support to distribution: European Union
Published on 12/03/20