Ninja Miners of Mongolia

A 21st-century gold rush is taking place in Mongolia.
Its huge gold reserves were only discovered after the former Soviet satellite started democratic reforms in 1990. Now, gold fever has gripped the country, with an estimated 100,000 Mongolians working as informal miners, many of them herders who have left their flocks behind.

Known as “ninja” miners — with their plastic gold-panning basins slung over their backs, they resemble TV’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — they do not possess the necessary mining licenses and thus operate illegally.

NPR story: Mongolians Seek Fortune In Gold, But At A Cost