Photographer, Jason Florio, at work – the gold mines of Senegal, West Africa


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Woman breast-feeding her baby, gold miners at work, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

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Photographer, Jason Florio, at work – Gold mines, Senegal. West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

Thursday 20th December, 2013 – Paddling distance: 11.4km (total to-date: 83.65km) – River Gambia Expedition 

A relatively short day on the River Gambia today, as we wanted to visit another gold mine, in Senegal. This stretch of the river is dotted with artisanal gold mines – which draw thousands of migrant workers from all over West Africa: Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Guinea-Conakry, Mali and, including Senegal itself. All of them hoping to make their fortune. Whole families live in and around the mines. All the mines we visited were understandably dusty but this one in particular had an extremely fine, pink-hued, dust which got absolutely everywhere.  Even our tents, situated by the river – over 2 miles away from the mine itself – were covered in a fine film of the pale pink talc-like dust. But, at least we could pack up our tents and leave the next day. Many of those people whose lives revolve around the gold mines are inhaling toxic fumes from the mercury – used to separate the gold from the rock dust. The mercury that isn’t inhaled, settles into environment – i.e. the pink dust that coats everything and everybody, at this mine.

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Florio helps the gold miner load his bicycle, Senegal, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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H: “There’s gold in this here rock – apparently!” Gold mines, Senegal © Jason Florio

We met the Senegalese version of a Tolleh Kaafo (‘silly person’). Most villages in The Gambia will have such a group, or person in this case, and their purpose is to lighten up situations – laughing and joking around, when things get too serious. This guy was a real character, who seemed to have everything but an attayah teapot in his pockets!

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Kids playing in the dust, gold mines, Senegal, West Africa © Helen Jones-Florio

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Ebou, Abdou and Yousef, relax after a long days paddle, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

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Dawn – Ebou & Yousef go fishing, River Gambia, Senegal, West Africa © Jason Florio

More river stories to come…next stop Mako – with a couple of hippo encounters on the way.

As always, thanks for stopping by

The Florios – H & Flo

To view Jason Florio latest series of images – River Gambia – please visit floriophoto.com

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About River Gambia Expedition 2012

Jason Florio, FRGS: award-winning photojournalist. Helen Jones-Florio: expedition & photography producer. 2009: The couple co-led the West Africa expedition 'A Short Walk in the Gambian Bush - a 930km African odyssey' - the first circumnavigation of the small West African country, by foot, with two donkeys and a cart. Resulting in the award-winning series of portraits of Gambian village chiefs (Alkalo's) www.floriophoto.com (under 'Projects') http://930kmafricanodyssey.tumblr.com/ 2012-13: The couple co-led their second West Africa expedition - 'River Gambia Expedition - 1000km source-sea Africa odyssey' over-landing for 400km and canoeing the River Gambia for 720km https://rivergambiaexpedition2012.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Adventure, Carbon footprint, Culture, Documentary, Environmental, Expedition, Fouta Djallon Highlands, Guinea-Conakry, Mali Ville, Photography, photography, Photojournalism, Portraits, River Gambia, Senegal, The Gambia, tradition, Travel, West Africa, Youtube and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Photographer, Jason Florio, at work – the gold mines of Senegal, West Africa

  1. So lovely to see the images of your amazing tales, it brings the whole thing alive g x

  2. Thanks Ger! We still have so much more to share – although, you know so much about our journey already 🙂 It’s great to share the work…and we’ve had such an amazing response. It’s humbling… xxH & Flo

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