silver mine - potosí (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.­

mine tunnel - bocamina - entrance - adit mine tunnel (potosí) trolley in mine tunnel - potosi (bolivia) mine worker with drill miner hammering chisel to drill blasting hole miner grinding metal miners - potosi (bolivia) el tio - the spirit of the mine el tio potosi mine tunnels trolley carrying ore out of the mine mine trolley carrying the silver ore - potosi (bolivia) potosi mine entrance - adit silver mines on the cerro rico - potosi (bolivia) refining the sludge - ore processing plant - candelaria silver mine - potosi (bolivia) sludge - ore processing plant - silver mine - potosi (bolivia) ore processing plant - potosi (bolivia) "use su equipo protector" safety sign - potosi (bolivia) "para su proteccion uselos" - safety sign - potosi (bolivia) safety goggles sign - "protección de los ojos" screw conveyor miner buying dynamite and ammonium nitrate (ANFO) at the corner store - potosi (bolivia) dynamite sticks - potosi (bolivia)