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f_0020479_17241 - P RTFOLIO Born in Taipei educated in...

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© 2010 World Policy Institute; all images © Thomas Lee 67 Deadly Gold Thomas Lee Dunkwa-on-offin, Ghana—An illegal gold mine collapsed in these remote jungles on June 27, 2010, after heavy rains hit central Ghana. At least 100 people were buried, but that’s just an estimate. The owner had no idea how many of his 136 hires were working at the time of his arrest, and the dozen illegal miners who survived kept their mouths shut, fearing prosecution. This is hardly a rare incident, but it provides a vivid snapshot of the deeply rooted abuses in Ghana’s ancient and ever more profitable gold complex. Born in Taipei, educated in Chicago, and now based in Hong Kong, Thomas Lee’s photos have been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Guardian and Time. Inspired by “The Money Stone,” director Stuart Har- mon’s documentary-in-progress on Ghana’s galamsey industry, Lee shadowed a group of illegal gold workers. P RTFOLIO Theo and his team head to work as dusk begins to fall at the illegal gold mines in the bush of Kenyasi, Ghana.
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WORLD POLICY JOURNAL • FALL 2010 68 Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana remains one of Africa’s biggest producers of the precious ore. Most of this valued metal is extracted by multinational corporations, especially today as its world price hovers above $1,200 an ounce. In many villages the foreign firms have ravaged the land and given little back to the communities. The locals
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