Pork-Knocker Gold Mining 10 Dollars Guyana Authentic Coin Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (Heptagonal 7-Sided) (Prospector)
Pork-Knocker Gold Mining 10 Dollars Guyana Authentic Coin Money for Jewelry and Craft Making (Heptagonal 7-Sided)
Reverse: Pork-Knocker Gold mining scene.
Lettering: TRADITIONAL GOLD MINING
BANK OF GUYANA
Obverse: National coat of arms.
Period Republic (1970-date)
Type Standard circulation coin
Value 10 Dollars
10 GYD = USD 0.048
Currency Dollar (decimalized, 1955-date)
Composition Nickel plated steel
Weight 5 g
Diameter 23 mm
Thickness 1.8 mm
Shape Heptagonal (7-sided)
Orientation Medal alignment ↑↑
Number N# 7708
References KM# 52, Schön# 52
Pork-knockers are freelance Guyanese prospectors who mine for diamonds and gold in the alluvial plains of the Guyanese interior. Pork-knockers have been responsible for discovering large deposits of gold and diamonds. The name "pork-knockers" refers to their regular diet of pickled pork of wild pig that is often eaten at the end of the day. Caribbean author A. R. F. Webber suggested that the term may have originated as "pork-barrel knocker".
In popular culture
There are Guyanese folk songs influenced by pork-knocker culture, often addressing the danger of the occupation and the hope of finding gold. In 1996, playwright Harold Bascom won the Guyana Prize for Makantali, inspired by the folk song by the same name.
Many Guyanese stories describe pork-knockers who have made fortunes only to lose them in a tragic or comic fashion. Guyana-born author Jan Carew's 1958 novel Black Midas involves a boy leaving his coastal village to become a pork-knocker. Sheik Sadeek, a novelist and playwright, produced stories about Guyana's colonial era working class, and often used pork-knockers as the subject of his works, including the play Porkknockers.
In 2010, Guyanese artist Barrington Braithwaite released a comic book Illustrated History of the Porkknocker as a collaboration with the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission. Another graphic novel by Braithwaite, Mighty Itanamie, is a supernatural fiction based on pork knocker legends.
Small-scale mining attracted many Afro-Guyanese before and after emancipation as a way to cope with unemployment and to avoid conflict-ridden agricultural work. Mining continues to be a traditional occupation for Afro-Guyanese since the bauxite industry began in the 20th century.
A 1921 account observed that most pork-knockers of that era were of African descent and worked individually or in small groups. Pork-knockers have often been dependent on bush traders, who carry mining supplies and sometimes grubstake the pork-knockers' operations. Pork-knockers may work in close proximity to each other and disputed claims may lead to violence.
Pork-knocking is extremely hazardous and deaths are not uncommon. Miners were crushed under falling trees, earth, and rock. Drowning often occurs as mining operations are typically based on rivers to capture gold and diamond-laden sediments. The remoteness and wild terrain are a challenge for receiving emergency medical care.
Culture and conflict
Pork-knockers engage in a distinct social system, defined by their distance from home; "outside of the moral surveillance of a domicile". Success demands conspicuous displays of generosity, giving the miner social prestige and inject money into the isolated economies. Selfishness is associated with distrust, and can damage a miner's access to credit, and also belief that when a miner is stingy, the earth will also deprive them of its bounty.
The presence of pork-knockers in the Guyanese interior has upset traditional Amerindian life there. The Akawaio people have experienced land disputes with pork-knockers and have been adversely affected by a rising cost of living. Amazonian anthropologist Audrey Butt Colson observed that mining has led to a collapse of the subsistence economy. Butt Colson writes that mining village Kamarang, known as "Red Light City", typifies the "pork-knocker syndrome of drink, gambling, sex, conspicuous consumption and, from time to time, violence."
Mining is also under-taken by Amerindians, but there are different social mechanisms in place creating a distinction from those who come from Guyana's urban coast (known as 'coastlanders'). Hinterland mining supplements farming, so proceeds are devoted towards household consumption.
Mining in Guyana
Mining is a significant contributor to the economy of Guyana, owing to sizable reserves of bauxite, gold, and diamonds. Much of these resources are found in Guyana's Hilly Sand and Clay belt, a region that makes up 20% of the country.
In 2012, export receipts for gold amounted to US$1.5 billion, nearly half of the country's total export receipt value. All gold mined in the country must be sold to the Guyana Gold Board, and sent abroad for refining at the Royal Canadian Mint. The gold mining industry is made up of small and medium-scale operations that support as many as 12% of the population.
In the 16th century, European explorers were drawn to the Guianas due to rumors of a golden city called Manoa, ruled by the golden king El Dorado. This legend instigated settling of the region, but it wasn't until the 1840s when gold was found in significant quantities. After emancipation, small-scale gold mining was untaken by many newly-freed Afro-Guyanese, who still make up a significant portion of the modern mining industry. Also known as pork-knockers, these artisanal gold and diamond miners have created or been a part of the folklore in Guyana.
In 1904, Peters Mine was the first mine opened in Guyana. From 1904 to 1909, it produced 39,800 ounces of gold (approximately 0.8 oz. per ton of ore), and in 1915 to 1916 produced another 1,103 ounces. Surveys conducted by U.S. geologists were favorable, but the mine was abandoned largely due to its inaccessibility. Nonetheless, it remained the biggest mining operation in Guyana until Omai Mine was opened in 1993. Peters Mine was obtained in 1996 by Guyana Goldfields.
Government initiatives have favored domestic gold mining operations, such as the 1989 Mining Act which encouraged many small-scale mining companies. When Omai Mine closed in 2005 it was ten years until the openings of two large-scale open pit mines in 2015: Aurora gold mine, a Canadian-owned operation and Troy Resources.[
Guyana has not been immune to many of the struggles typical of resource rich countries. The price of gold attracts workers away from agriculture labor for quick gains, the result of which can have a detrimental effect on Guyana's overall economy. Boomtowns are often plagued with issues related to prostitution and excessive violence. Abandoned pits that accumulate water have become vector points for disease such as malaria and dengue.
Gold smuggling is a perennial issue. In 2016, the Minister of Natural Resources said that "approximately 15,000 ounces of gold is being smuggled from Guyana each week" with the possibility that gold from Columbia or Venezuela is also smuggled through the country's porous borders. Smugglers often go to Suriname to sell gold due to lower taxation of 1% tax and 2% royalty, compared to Guyana's 2% tax and 5% royalty. Brazil and the USA are also major destination points of smuggled gold. In 2012, US$11.5 million of gold was seized in Curacao.
Despite government enacting a ban on the use of mercury, it is still used for gold extraction by small-scale operations. A 1995 cyanide spill associated with large-scale gold mining at Omai Mines caused significant damage to the eco-system of the Highland region.
The coat of arms of Guyana (Co-operative Republic of Guyana) was granted by the College of Arms on 25 February 1966.
It includes a crest of an Amerindian head-dress symbolizing the indigenous people of the country, this crest is also called the Cacique's Crown; two diamonds at the sides of the head-dress representing mining industry; a helmet; two jaguars as supporters holding a pick axe, sugar cane, and a stalk of rice (symbolizing Guyana's mining, sugar and rice industries); a shield decorated with the Victoria amazonica lily, Guyana's national flower; three blue wavy lines representing the three main rivers of Guyana; and the national bird, the Canje Pheasant (Opisthocomus hoazin). The national motto, "One people, One Nation, One Destiny", appears on the scroll below the shield.