While most of the gold is produced by major corporations, tens of thousands of people work independently in smaller, artisan operations, in some cases illegally. In Ghana, for instance, the galamseys are estimated to number 20,000 to 50,000. In neighboring francophone countries, such workers are called orpailleurs. In Brazil, such workers are called garimpeiros.
The high risk of such ventures was seen in the collapse of an illegal mine at Dompoase, Ashanti Region