Tarnished: The True Cost of Gold tells the stories of those who mine the gold, the risks they take and the dangers they face: from injury and drowning to mercury poisoning and lung damage. Here are portraits of people whose way of life is threatened and who now are fighting back—a miner who calls for fair trade and fair mine certification, “a modern-minded mayor who takes a stand against modern mining,” a Romanian farmer-philosopher.
Children as young as four haul buckets of water and smash boulders. Activist farmers stage roadblocks to protest the foreign takeover of a local mine. Indigenous peoples are displaced and environments despoiled. All of this in the service of gold—the lustrous, coveted symbol of wealth that is too often borne of poverty, danger and disease.
Eleven journalists traveled to 10 countries, from Peru to the Philippines, to tell these stories. Their work combines first-rate reporting, vivid imagery and video, previously published by the Pulitzer Center, an innovative non-profit that supports international journalism.