Cerro Rico miner bis – Potosi, Bolivia

This picture has been taken inside the Cerro Rico mine in the surrounding of Potosi in Bolivia. This silver mine exploited for more than 3 centuries has produced incredible amount of silver that fueled the economy of Spain for 2 centuries, at the time Bolivia was still a colony of Spanish kingdom. Today miners still work there and their working conditions did not improved much since the colonial time. In this dusty and toxic environment, the average life expectancy is 15 years for them before they contract mortal disease (mainly pneumonia). The jaw of the miner on the picture seems deformed because he is chewing coca leaves. Coca leaves are hunger cutter and energetic. They allow the miners to work longer time and suffer less from the dreadful conditions they progress in.

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