miner grinding metal


Miner cutting trolley rails to divert them toward another mine tunnel.­

Candelaria silver mine - Potosi (Bolivia)

cerro rico cutting grinder grinding man metal mina candelaria mine worker miner mining potosí safety helmet sparks tunnel
Ruta Nacional 1, Potosi, Bolivia

The Candelaria mine is one of the oldest silver mines of Potosí, and it has been active for more than 200 years.­

But the rich silver ore veins are long gone, and the remaining ore contains less than 15% of silver and various other metals.­

Working in mines like this one is probably one of the worst job on earth.­ The air is thin because of the high altitude, and in the mine, the air is very bad, loaded with thick rock dust and chemical fumes from blasted dynamite.­ It is hot and cramped, the galleries are narrow, steep, dangerous, poorly maintained and often cave in.­ there is no electricity, no water, no ventilation, no safety or communication equipment, and most of the work is done with manual tools (picks, hammers, wheelbarrow).­

After spending a few hours in this mine, just walking around and taking photos, I was drained and I just wanted out.­

Photos taken in Bolivia in February and March 2010.­

Related series:

- Uyuni Train Cemetery (Bolivia).

- Silver Mine - Potosí (Bolivia).

- Argentina.

- Chile.