Entebbe — A rapid rise in the price of gold since 2000 has driven millions of people to deposits in Africa, South America and elsewhere where they dig for gold using basic technology.

Such informal digging — known as artisanal or small-scale mining (ASM) — has been around for centuries, and gold offers cash to communities that may lack alternatives. There are now about 15-million to 20-million artisanal miners, and millions more depend on them, Delve, a global platform for ASM data, estimates...

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