A Big Fish Production

‘Illegal’ mining is in the spotlight once again. This week’s episode of Special Assignment illuminates the issue with a revealing documentary that explores the underlying complexities of the unregulated side of gold mining, borne out of perpetual unemployment and a shrinking commercial mining industry.

Common Ground investigates the intrinsic dynamics of artisanal mining and explores the everyday struggle of ‘zama zamas’, the workers who risk their health, safety and lives, who often mine deep underground and use dangerous chemicals to extract the minerals, in the pursuit of subsistence. Uranium-induced cancer is a persistent threat, and the disease is becoming increasingly common in local mining communities.

Common Ground unveils the complexity of an issue that has far reaching consequences for society, industry and the environment, while exploring cooperative ways to benefit mining communities thus allowing them a greater share in the wealth of South Africa.

Watch Special Assignment this Sunday on SABC 3 at 20h30; on Saturday the 28st of May at 17h30 and Sunday 29nd of May at 05h30 on DSTV channel 404.

Common Ground is produced by the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking, in collaboration with the Legal Resources Centre.