In the 21st century dealing in gold remains an archaic practice. Matthew Hart charts the story of a human obsession. From January 2014.
From the Pizzaro brothers, who pillaged Peru for Inca gold in the 16th century, to the modern-day Mponeng mine in South Africa, the deepest in the world, where the ghost miners illegally siphon off millions - the pursuit of gold has led to wars, insurrections, betrayals and bloodshed.
Matthew Hart charts a course through history and across continents to tell the story of the world's most coveted metal. Part history, part journalism and part economic analysis, Gold tells the story of a human obsession that shows no sign of abating.
In 2008, when the financial crisis rattled economies, investors inevitably resorted to the perceived safety of gold – and its price escalated from $800 to $1900 an ounce. This, in turn, accelerated the exploration for yet more gold.
Matthew Hart is a journalist, whose work has appeared in The Times, Granta, The Atlantic Monthly and The Globe and Mail. He has written two IMAX films, numerous TV documentaries, and appeared on CNN, Sixty Minutes and the National Geographic channel. His previous books include Diamond: The History Of A Cold-Blooded Love Affair, which was filmed as a documentary by ABC.
Abridged by Pete Nichols
Producer: Karen Rose
A Sweet Talk production for BBC Radio 4