The organization of mining varies depending on the type of gold deposit. While alluvial (placer) gold it could work individually or in small groups, washing, penetrating or on the surface mining of shallow pits, ice (reef) gold requires deep shaft mining. When a gold deposit forms an underground “mat,” the surface above the deposit is punctured by narrow tubular trunks that can branch into underground galleries. When a gold deposit takes the form of a linear vein, tubular or rectangular shafts along the vein eventually merge and form one large open pit. In some gold mines of Burkina the vertical shafts reach depths over 100 m.
Claims in non-industrial gold mines are not usually established in writing. The claim is simply calculated on a first-come, first-served basis. If someone wants to claim a certain place right after opening, he or she may have to literally sit on it until a friend or partner brings the tools for his or her work. Once individual parcels are excavated by about one meter, ownership is usually recognized. If there is a dispute over one pit, the case is brought before any authority – the police or gendarmerie, elected representative of gold diggers or those who are recognized as mediators of both parties, such as a senior, experienced gold digger. At first the individual pits are separated by a wall; later conflicts often arise when someone begins to remove this wall from their side of the pit and encroaches on what the neighbor considers their part. Outbreaks of violence can occur at all stages of the production cycle, but if the mine stays there for several weeks, institutions or mechanisms for conflict resolution will be adopted.
The owner of the mine can manage it himself, or, if he does not have enough funds, rent it to a friend for a while. This may be a one-week interim agreement, called a tour only, which confirms the links between the mining entrepreneurs. The landlord or landlord hires a team of workers who work on the claim during day and night shifts. Depending on the type of field and the size of the pit, the crew can be up to thirty or more workers. Each crew consists of unskilled and skilled workers. There is no formal training, but one who eventually becomes a professional gold miner usually starts with unskilled work. If he is very young and not yet physically ready for harder work, this may include bringing food to the workplace.
It can then move up the stairs in time, performing different actions on the same mines: digging groundwater out of the mine containers, cutting wood for support beams, removing earth and gravel outside the pit or working in the pit with a sledgehammer, pickaxe or chisel. If he is ultimately both skilled and reliable, he can become one of the few team members tasked with mining the most valuable pieces of ore. With the rare exception of some women who dress and behave like men, women do not usually work in mines.
In Burkina Faso, French terms are used for team members, including pit owner’s patron, airport tenant, chef group supervisor, commission commissioner, skilled miners-tapers, unskilled mine workers, wood section handlers, wardrobe guards. and a place to store ore, and one who brings food porteur de repas (usually a boy or a woman). In addition to the core team there are blast workers or blacksmiths and others who provide on-site services.
The employer is responsible for food, clothing, housing and, in the event of an accident, illness – treatment. It can also provide alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. Until the gold of hearing is reached, which can take weeks or even months, gold diggers do not receive a salary. Once the pit starts “mining,” they will get a share of the ore. After accumulating a certain amount of ore the employer gets half, and the crew is left to share the other half. Most of their pit owners claim for themselves the most valuable pieces of ore, citing the overhead of operating the mine to justify their larger share.
Gold miners can sell their share of ore on site to professional ore buyers, or allow it to process and sell the resulting amount of gold. Most gold miners store neither ore nor gold. This is partly due to the need for cash, partly to avoid theft. People from neighboring villages, who work in mining camps as part-time workers, grind, grind and wash ore in the fenced area, complete. Although it is ethically prohibited, mercury is used to fuse gold dust. The resulting gold is sold to licensed gold traders, who in turn sell it to CBMP or another marketing company. In order to attract and retain customers, gold traders give out mercury free of charge or give credit to newcomers to the mine, who are then obliged to sell them their gold. However, part of the gold is also sold to black market traders. These black market traders either come from outside or are the same official gold traders who engage in this illegal activity at night. Black market traders acquire customers either directly to the prospector or through third parties who introduce them to potential customers. Often these third parties are the women who run the kiosks where the ore is processed. Usually these women are very well informed about the production of individual mines and they are familiar with both gold diggers and gold traders.