With a wife and four children, the prospecting project become a lesson in resiliency for Papalian. Gold prospects have ranged from one- to 10-gram nuggets. Diamond deposits have been an added inducement.
“Right now, we’re at the break-even point,” he said. “With the gold we’ve found, it’s led to better equipment and pumping machines. The best is yet to come. I see it happening.”
He set up quarters inside a guest house. His room is about 10 feet square. Typical foods are yams, plantan (bananas) and other fruits. Bush meat comes from anything caught in the wild.
Papalian is cultivating an Armenian community there. He’s hooked up with four Belgium Armenian prospectors who have been mining for 11 years. They get together, speak their native language, even prepare some Armenian cuisine. He’s also learned to communicate in Chie, the native language of Ghana.
“When we put the new company together, it’ll be called ‘Ararat Mining’ after our mountain in Armenia where Noah landed his Ark after the great flood,” Papalian envisions. “And we’ll fly the Armenian flag as our symbol. It might just be the only Armenian flag in all of Africa.”