Every year the rich mines of South Africa produce up to 190,000 kilos of gold.......but at a huge human cost. Due to a combination of social, biological and environmental factors the men that mine this gold have the highest rates of TB in the world. Many of miners are migrant workers, and as they return to their communities in surrounding countries they are bringing with them the deadly TB contracted at the mines, spreading it to between 10-15 people per year.
This epidemic is so far out of control that the WHO estimates that each year mining activities are responsible for up to 760,000 new cases of TB; that's a third of all new cases in the region. As a result Southern Africa is the only region in the world that is off track to reach the Millennium Development Goal on TB.
Mining companies like Anglo Gold Ashanti have been accused of operating with a 'pervasive culture of non-compliance' by the South African Chamber of Mines towards legislation aimed at combating occupational tuberculosis; they are failing their workers and their communities.
This month we are launching our Dying for Gold campaign, the centre piece of which is a UK wide screening tour of hard hitting documentary 'They Go To Die' which follows the lives of four former gold mineworkers sent back to their communities with no continuity of care and no means for treatment.
It's time the UK Government and British mining companies stepped up to make lasting change in the lives of these miners and their communities.