The mines of Potosi
Friday, 29 January 2010 19:32 Last Updated on Monday, 08 February 2010 21:11
It is impossible to go to Potosi without visiting the mines of the area. We went to these mines to discover the work conditions of the Bolivian miners.
In the mines of Cerro Rico, the work is done in a old tradition. The miners extract silver or zinc with a pick. There is a variation of temperature very imressive: from 0 to 45 degrees celsius within a few minutes. Inside the mines, the atmosphere is more and more difficult to support, there is less oxygene and the dirt cuts our breath.
Ready for a walk in the mine..
We walked during two hours in the mines. The tour was not easy to do: we went to several small and muddy tunnels, where we went through hot areas and then cold areas. We crossed a lot of troleys plenty of ores towed by four miners (we had to clear the way quickly for the workers of the mine).
This is the god of the mine which protects the miners and brings them a goof production.
We met a few miners. They told us they were happy and proud to work as miners, like their father and grand-father. It was a big surprise for us to see that they were satisfied of their work because their work conditions seemed to be so tough. They live up to 35 - 40 years old, they are often alcoholic (they drink alcool up to 96% to give them power and courage) and they often are sick after 15 years spent in the mine.
2 miners which are going out the mine to bring their production.
This walk in the mine was very touching because we saw the sad reality of the life of a Bolivian miner.
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