Potosí, Bolivia
19° 35' S 65° 45' W
May 07, 2005 01:00
Distance 150km

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Mining in Potosi

In the 16th century Potosi was the largest and wealthiest city in the world. Bigger than Paris, London and Seville, the sourse of the power was Silver. Today Potosi is a small and friendly third world mining town. The people work under harsh and dangerous conditions to mine small amounts of zinc, lead, tin and silver from Cerro Rico, or Rich Hill.
We took a tour of one of the 120 mines on the hill, to see the harh working conditions. It was hard to breathe in the very small and wet tunnels, and the 96% alcohol the miners drink burned all the way down.
On a brighter note we were able to buy dynamite in the market for 17 Bolivianos, about AU$2.60, and blew some stuff up.

Photos / videos of "Mining in Potosi":

Sunsets over the Rich Hill in Potosi.  Continually minned for about 450 years, they are still pulling ore out of it. The church of San Francisco, the oldest in town. Getting a good gob of coca going.  It helps with the altitude and with the dusty conditions below surface. We saw a lot of miners, or guys who said they were, but just sat around and chewed coca, real attractive trait. Going deeper underground "hey Bjorn, we´re minin´" This guy loved it.  Been working for 37 years. Miners Pushing the trolleys of ore to the surface.