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Mali's Child Labor, an Industry for the Gold Industry


Bamako, Mali -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/04/2014 -- Mali is the third biggest gold producer in Africa, mined by children. Child labor is perceived as an industry by itself; an impetus to production in the nation’s gold industry. All nations are against child labor in any form but there are governments that are construed as condoning it due to the balance it provides in socio economics.

Mali is the third biggest producer of gold, on the African continent after South Africa and Ghana, and yet it is classified as among the ten poorest nations in the world. It has tough labor laws against child labor but human rights activists labeled them as lacking in enforcement, which leads to a point; child labor is driven by poverty. Children of Mali work alongside their parents to make ends meet. For many poor families with children, gold mining is the primary and sometimes the only source of income.

It is estimated 20,000 to 40,000 children, as young as six years old, work in artisanal mining in Mali. It has long term repercussions: their health, well being and the future of the nation. The children are exposed to toxic mercury, which are released into rivers, ground water and lakes. They also work in sub standard and hazardous working conditions. There is an INDIEGOGO.COM campaign right now that aims to produce a 90 minute documentary of Mali’s child workers in the gold mines with the help of a former child miner.

Moctar Menta, a young film maker, is the man behind this effort. Project advisor and former child worker, Francoise Tembely will help zoom-in on the untold side of the real life story. Moctar said, “I am one man against great odds. I can’t change the world alone but I hope this documentary will create an awareness that the only way to end this is through education. Gold is important to the economy of the country but the Mali government should look far beyond that, he said adding that resources must be devoted to providing access to education. He said these children must be in school and not the mines. It would take generations to correct this but the nation and the people entrusted as leaders should start somewhere.

The 90 minute documentary will showcase the lives of five child workers, two boys and three girls and it highlights how Mali’s gold industry has influenced and affected their lives. Through interviews, viewers will better understand their motivation, dreams and hopes for the future. The lenses will follow them as they work in the mines and into their homes.

On INDIEGOGO.COM, Moctar has set a funding goal of US$75,000 to partly cover filming expenses, which include filming equipment rental, accommodation and other incidental costs. The funds will also go to providing US$2,500 scholarships to every child featured in the film and also cover their educational expenses in the next four years, Moctar said.

Learn more about it and contribute to the cause at

Or visit for more details.


Mr. Moctar Menta
Phone: +223 989 678 78