End of the Rainbow explores the impact of large-scale industrial gold mining on local communities in a remote region of Guinea, West Africa. In a physical exemplar of the workings of global industry, the mine structures and equipment are dismantled in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and are transported and then reconstructed to begin gold processing in Guinea. The film is an elegiac portrait of the changes brought by the mine, and of the universal human desire for a better life.
As we meet key characters inside and outside of the mine site, we explore the question of what happens when a massive international enterprise arrives in an area in which gold is already a significant element of the local economic system. The mine is driven by the urgency of global capital and brings its own set of rules and norms of behaviour. Alluvial miners traditionally work in close family and kinship groups, and according to the rhythms of the day and the seasons. The mine is managed by white foreigners who understand little about the region they are operating in, other than where to find the gold. The local workforce is largely composed of young men, many
of whom are not from the immediate vicinity of the mine. The mine functions as though it were outside of nature, operating to its own clock and calendar. How do local people respond to the possibilities and economic divisions the mine brings? How do the local jobseekers and expatriate staff, attracted by gold and the opportunities it offers, understand one another?
In case of difficulties, the mine security calls in the local military. The military comes when people looking for work are suspected of trespassing on the mine site, when locals protest as villages are relocated, and when alluvial miners break into the site at night to pan for gold. Conflict over the mine’s presence is escalating in Guinea. The gold will be dug from the ground, but at what cost?
End of the Rainbow reveals a world that is changing forever, and portrays intimately the people who are grappling to respond to those changes.