In the artisanal gold mines of Bani, Burkina Faso, death is an anticipated occurrence. For some children these mines are not just a place of work but also their home. As the price of gold declines, Slovenian photographer Matjaz Krivic observes young miners venture deeper into the ground in an attempt to earn their daily wage; they risk their lives in the pursuit of gold. Most mines are just the size of manholes and drop more than 50 metres into the ground; others have collapsed and remnants fill with water, as bodies of miners remain buried deep below the surface.
A third of Bani’s miners are child labourers. The risk to their health and manual labour involved in mining mean it is considered one of the worst forms of child labour there is. Workers suffer from the exposure to dust, toxic chemicals and heavy metals, which attack their systems, but they keep digging in the hope that gold lies somewhere beneath them; this is the only way of life they know.
Digging the Future was also produced as a multimedia presentation, which won the Palm Springs Photo Festival Slideshow competition.