Dec 5, 2012

The antiquated narrative of Africa as a lawless jungle has been reprised in a new reality show airing on the Discovery Channel.

Jungle Gold chronicles an ill-advised mission of three Utahans desperate to pay off over a million dollars of debt.

To achieve this, they decided to hunt for gold in Ghana — a West African country so rich in the yellow metal that the British colonialists called it the Gold Coast. Equipped with an excavator and high definition cameras, George Wright, Scott Lomu and Travis Fotheringham locate a rural area that they suspect has 1.5million dollars worth of gold embedded underneath the earth’s surface.

With imperialistic zeal George bellows: “Lets get in there, lets tear it all down” Then their Caterpillar excavator begins to plunge through soil that once nourished lush timber trees.

In broad strokes, the manual form of surface mining that George, Scott and Travis are performing involves destroying acres of verdant forest and farmlands so artisan miners can dig into the ground with shovels and excavators to create a pit deep enough to access the mineral deposits. The miners pump water from a nearby river to soften the pit for further digging. As the pit floods, excess water is pumped out and the targeted soil is washed with poisonous chemicals to separate the gold from the sand.

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