Italy, Mali, Germany | 2022 | 30 min
Subtitles : English, French
On the Jos Plateau in Nigeria, the British mined tin and columbite which sustained local generations until the end of the 20th century. Mining is now an artisanal activity. Karimah Ashadu portrays the harshness of manual labour while questioning the harm caused by the uncontrolled extraction of natural resources.
Known for its rich seams of tin and columbite-tantalite, the Jos plateau in central Nigeria was mined on an industrial scale by the British until they left after the country gained independence. This activity, which has been vital for generations of diggers in the region, now continues under make-shift, rudimentary and dangerous conditions. The artist and filmmaker Karimah Ashadu met and filmed those who use picks, shovels and sieves to mine, scrape, wash and sort the matter, literally ripped from the earth to recover minute quantities of the precious ore, and in the process attacking the landscape in order to survive. Their voice-overs with their fatalistic stories accompany the camera as it uses highly accurate wide-angle shots or close-ups to capture the unrelenting rhythm of bodies to the sound of the motorised pumps, and reveals the environmental devastation that this anarchic extraction causes: an ochre-red desert, pitted with ravines and abandoned mines. Plateau forcefully challenges the destruction of an ecosystem, as the poisoned legacy of predatory colonisation.
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