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the heart-renching tale of the miners of potosí

Posted by
Ryan (Vancouver, Canada) on 6 March 2008 in Business & Industry.

Once the largest and richest city in the entire world due to the silver virtually pouring out of the mountain (at the cost of eight million lives and counting), Potosí is now a poor mining town. The terrible part is that conditions in the mines haven't changed much in the past 400 years. There are no safety precautions to speak of, much of the work is still done by hand (4-8 hours to pound a hole in the wall for the dynamite), and people tend to die 10-15 years upon entering the mine from silicosis pneumonia. It's a sad fact that these people have to continue working in these conditions to survive. The mountain has been continuously mined for about 400 years. How long it can keep going is anyone's guess.