SVEN ZELLNER PHOTOGRAPHY DOCUMENTARY FILMS EXHIBITIONS VITA CONTACT
  NINJAS - GOLD RUSH MONGOLIA MONGOLIAN DISCO MONGOLIAN NOMADS NOMADIC CHILDREN WRESTLERS MONGOLIA NAADAM - HORSE RACES BLACK LIVES MATTER
 
  PRICE OF GOLD CHILDHOOD IN ROMANIA AIDS EPIDEMIC ROMANIA GREENLAND'S FUTURE GENERATION BAYERISCHER WALD LANDSCAPES

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Gold miners on motorcycle during a dust storm. Frequently, the mercury-contaminated mud is lying around openly. Over time, the wind spreads the mercury along with the dust across large areas.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Rush Mongolia - copyright 2012 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

In addition to the rope running along a windlass, the gold-digger is fastened to a security rope because the windlass has no breaking mechanism, and without additional protection he could fall as far as 25 metres if a colleague accidentally let go of the windlass.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

The Ninjas dig into the heavy soil with simple means, here in a dried-up riverbed of a desert river which has not had water in years.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Approximately one hundred people work in these illegal gold mines near the Chinese border in the Gobi Desert.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

These small drywashers only allow small amounts of stone to be separated from the gold. However, there also are Ninjas who run bigger gold mills.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Gold-digger underground

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

These two Ninjas were surprised when I climbed down to join them. They agreed that I could take some pictures. Just before I had been threatened with a knife.

 

    Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus
    Most Ninjas come from a nomadic background. This man, however, has studied automotive engineering in Russia.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Where there is no water, the Ninjas often use drywashers for washing the gold.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Ninja Miners Mongolia

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

25m deep entrance shaft into a mine. During the making of my documentary »Price of Gold«, I was lowered head first, hanging from my feet into this narrow tunnel in order to show the depth of the shaft via camera movement. For technical reasons we could not lower the camera down on its own.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

The mercury extracts the gold from the rock and forms amalgam. This is heated on a hearth inside the yurt in order to vapourize the mercury and get solid gold. The mercury vapours are highly toxic and the Ninjas breathe them in.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

The Ninjas use a pneumatic hammer and dynamite to tunnel up to 70 metres into the solid rock.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Ninjas preparing a controlled explosion, with fuses and detonators. As they only have limited expertise, the risk is immense. In 2007 I stayed with a group of Ninjas who detonated the dynamite with a fuse, risking their lives everytime. In 2010 some gold-diggers were telling me that at the time a man named Bolto had lost his arm in an explosion.

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Here a number of tunnels have collapsed. Often Ninjas are buried alive in the tunnels.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Controlled explosion, illegal goldmine, the Gobi Desert

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

In order to extract gold, stones from the shafts are crushed to fine dust. Sieves are used to sort the coarse stones.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

At times you come across small pieces of gold, but if you want to achieve a solid yield you will get more gold using highly toxic mercury, which separates the gold from the stone.

 

 

 

    Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus
    Ninja Miners Mongolia

 

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Rush Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

A day’s yield of gold

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Rush Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Nomadic boy with puppy in front of yurt. His brother works as Ninja.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Rush Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Nomadic boy working in the mines.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Rush Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

While one person digs underground, the others heave the stones up in buckets and break them up.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Ninja Miners Mongolia

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Group of Ninjas washing gold at the end of the day.

 

 

 

Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus

Ninja Miners Mongolia

 

 

 

 

 

  Ninjas Gold Rush Mongolia - copyright 2012 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus
    The Ninjas dig into the heavy soil with simple means, here in a dried-up riverbed of a desert river which has not had water in years.

 

 

 

NINJAS EXHIBITION

NINJAS EXHIBITION NINJAS EXHIBITION NINJAS EXHIBITION

The mercury extracts the gold from the rock and forms amalgam. This is heated on a hearth inside the yurt in order to vapourize the mercury and get solid gold. The mercury vapours are highly toxic and the Ninjas breathe them in.

    Ninja Miners Gold Mongolia - copyright 2013 Sven Zellner/Agentur Focus
     

 

 

 

Nalaikh colliery - informal coal mining in Mongolia

 

Miners repair a motorcycle in front of the ruins of the Nalaikh colliery.

 

 

A stone falling sixty meters from the unsecured entrance hole could kill a worker even when wearing a helmet.

 

 

 

The tunnel is about one hundred meters long.

 

 

 

The tunnels are illuminated with electric bulbs.

 

 

 

Every year about a dozen miners die here, at least according to official records. In reality, nobody knows how many people are buried in the makeshift underground tunnels, as the mining activity in Nalaikh lies largely beyond the purview of the authorities. The Nalaikh mines are the most dangerous on earth, even more deadly than Chinese coal mines.

 

 

 

Pulling the metal container through the tunnel.

 

 

 

 

Pulling the empty container back into the tunnel.

 

 

 

 

The coal is sold directly to people in the capital city Ulaanbaatar for the millions of stoves in the yurts of the ger-district areas. Ganaa illegal coal miner at Nalaikh.

 

 

 

 

Sapar‘s workers during a break in the yurt.

 

 

 

Transporting coal on bicycles.

SVEN ZELLNER PHOTOGRAPHY DOCUMENTARY FILMS EXHIBITIONS VITA CONTACT
  NINJAS - GOLD RUSH MONGOLIA MONGOLIAN DISCO MONGOLIAN NOMADS NOMADIC CHILDREN WRESTLERS MONGOLIA NAADAM - HORSE RACES BLACK LIVES MATTER
 
  PRICE OF GOLD CHILDHOOD IN ROMANIA AIDS EPIDEMIC ROMANIA GREENLAND'S FUTURE GENERATION BAYERISCHER WALD LANDSCAPES