Inside Potosì Mines
Potosì, Bolivia. “We eat the mountain and the mountain eats us”. At 4300 meters above sea level, in the bowels of the “Cerro Rico” mountain, that for centuries has supplied Spain with silver, thousands of miners still work under the same conditions as colonial times: with their hands and rudimentary dynamite. To take the strain they chew thousands of coca leaves, drink bad raw alcohol and smoke marijuana. They are divided into hundreds of independent cooperatives and nowadays extract mainly poor minerals like tin. Because of the terrible working conditions in the mines, the tunnels running inside the burning mountain are often less than one meter high, the medium working life of a miner is ten years, after which they generally fall sick.