Miners illegally panning for gold on the River Galgol, outside of the town of Khayega in Kakamega County, Kenya.
The mining shaft of an illicit gold mine in Western Kenya. According to the supervisor 50 to 100 people work down here at the same time extracting ore.
Like most of the work done at the mine, ore brought up to the surface is then broken down by hand for further processing.
The processed ore, at this point turned into dust, is mixed with water laced with mercury to extract the gold. All of this is done with no protective gear for the workers.
A workers shovels mercury-laced mine tailings out of a processing pit.
The amalgamated ore is burned to remove the mercury, leaving just gold behind. Fumes from this process are extremely toxic and can cause serious health problems.
The final product is weighed and sold to middlemen, who pay the miners far below market value. Gold from informal, small scale mines such as this one are responsible for 15% of the world's gold supply.