Sunday, 15 February 2009

Mining in Potosi

So on the way to the mine, we calling to the market, get some coca leaves, then we go to some shops, miners supplies, for 30 Bolivianos (3 euro) we buy a stick of Dynamite a Kilo of TNT, fuse for 2.5 min and the silver thing that goes into the Dynamite, just like buying biscuits at home in the shop.

When we were going into the mine the guy above came out, with what looked like a broken finger, but you couldn´t tell because he was laughing + joking, then we went in, the miner with the dinky finger came back in, with the finger wrapped in cloth.

Using a bar and a hammer the miner of 25 years had put 5 holes of 12" into the hard rock.
While some of the other tourists were giving the bar a whack, the miner was fixing up the explosions. Hit and turn the bar, or else it will get stuck, and the tourists still got the bar stuck

When all was in place the miner burnt some of the tips of the fuses so that it would burn quicker, so he burnt a little bit of the first one and and then put it out, and then mover to the second one, while doing the second one the fuse caught on and the miner jumped a little back, not a good sign!!

We had 2 minutes to get the hell out of there + we moved, but into the mine, not out of it, when the first explosion went off i thought, ahh, it´s all over, the guide says 4 more, i think i wil stick to my office job.

When we went back to look at the explosions, the miner didn´t get a vein, the guide said he had bad luck, if he did find a vein , he would then get a 13 year old assistant to clear the rubble of 15 Euro a week 12 hour days, some kids have to work 24 hours.

A mask for the dust would cost 400 Bolivianos, but poor miners cant afford that so most die with lung problems after 10 years.

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