Akwesi Boahene’s gold dreams ended better than those of some people in Dunkwa-on-Offin, Ghana, whose riverbeds yield flecks of the precious metal to pickaxes. He still had his life.
Boahene, a satellite-television installer, and a partner pooled $10,000 two years ago to rent land and start a mining operation in a muddy West African town then booming with prospectors lured by what was gold’s longest bull market in at least nine decades.
In May, as prices sagged, his venture became another victim in a year of lost faith in the metal. Boahene shut down the no-longer-profitable business and told his 15 workers to stay home. When a former employee phoned one morning in June about returning to work, Boahene, 33, had no good news.
After enjoying a heyday from gold’s boom, the community faces a stark reversal of fortune that’s playing out in joblessness and an unusual crime spike. The news reverberating through the town of 33,000 that week: the deaths of two unemployed miners, shot during attempted thefts.
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