To The Gold Coast For Gold
by Richard F. Burton
In several countries, for instance, Dinkira, Tueful, Wásá (Wassaw), and especially Akim, the hill-region lying north of Accra, the people are still active in digging gold. The pits, varying from two to three feet in diameter, and from twelve to fifty deep (eighty feet is the extreme), are often so near the roads that loss of life has been the result. ’Shoring up’ being little known, the miners are not unfrequently buried alive. The stuff is drawn up by ropes in clay pots, or calabashes, and thus a workman at the bottom widens the pit to a pyriform shape; tunnelling, however, is unknown. The excavated earth is carried down to be washed. Besides sinking these holes, they pan in the beds of rivers, and in places collect quartz, which is roughly pounded.
They (the natives) often refuse to dig deeper than the chin, for fear of the earth ’caving in;’ and, quartz-crushing and the use of quicksilver being unknown, they will not wash unless the gold ’show colour’ to the naked eye.
As we advance northwards from the Gold Coast the yield becomes richer....
It is becoming evident that Africa will one day equal half-a-dozen Californias....