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Discovery Is Heading To Africa For A Spin-Off Of Ratings Hit 'Gold Rush' (Some Concerns...)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 28, 2012 at 9:19AM

Gold Rush is a documentary series for Discovery Channel about a group of unemployed men from Oregon who set out for Alaska in search of, what else, gold.
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Gold Rush Ghana

Gold Rush is a documentary series for Discovery Channel about a group of unemployed men from Oregon who set out for Alaska in search of, what else, gold.

In a last ditch effort to provide for their families, they've sold everything they can and invested in a gold claim and the machinery to mine it. Living off the grid in one of the wildest and most unforgiving wildernesses on earth, they hope to rekindle the American Dream and start a 21st Century Gold Rush. But in Alaska, everything is a struggle. Every day they have to contend with breakdowns, bug bites, extreme weather and grizzly bears. Can they tough it out long enough to find any gold?

Never seen the series, but apparently it's been a big ratings smash for the network, as well as the production company behind it, Raw TV, so much that a new season (a third series) of the original Alaska-based show is slated to run in the US in October; and the brand will also expand, with Raw TV being commissioned to use that similar template (a group of recession-hit American men who head off to find gold) to create a new Gold Rush series, but this time the men head to Africa to look for gold.

Specifically the show will be set in Ghana. Why Ghana? Well, it was once known as The Gold Coast when it was a British colony (before it became Ghana in the 1950s).

Broadcast says that few details are known about how the series would be developed, but that the Raw TV folks were "crewing up" earlier this month to head eastward. 

What I do wonder is whether there'll be any effort to draw attention to the fact that, as Al Jazeera states, Ghana is experiencing a new "gold rush" as more people try and gain access to the country's most notable export, which has unfortunately led to unlicensed - and hence illegal - mining operations, which are often funded by foreign speculators and criminals seeking huge profits, while giving little (if any) thought to the environmental destruction illegal mining causes, or the safety of local workers they hire (on pitiful salaries) to extract the gold.

For example, in June 2010, one operation in central Ghana, went disastrously wrong when the mine flooded and 150 people were killed, which devastated the local community. And that certainly wasn't an isolated incident. 

In the Al Jazeera investigative report below, investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas goes undercover to reveal the faces behind corruption (and the corruption itself) that exists behind the business of the country's most precious metal.

You should watch it (although if you searched online, you'll find many more reports like this to choose from). I wonder if the folks at Raw TV and the Discovery Channel are aware of all this, as they head over there with their 'recession-hit' American gold seekers:

This article is related to: Television, TV News


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