My first mine visit, about to venture underground for the next 4 hours.
Dynamite, juice, water and tobacco, the only shop in the world where a child can walk in off the street and buy explosives.
Primary refiners after rock is crushed. The nosiest place I have ever been to with no safegurads in place around any of the equipment We had to crawl through and under to get from one ed to the other.
Easily the most dangerous workshop I have been in. Fascinating and terrifying at the same time.
Crushed rock and silver dust
"Clowns are for the circus, not for work" This is the closest thing there was to a Health & Safety notice, or any other H&S item.
Potosi, the mountain that kills. The miners are lucky if they live past the age of 30 from mines collapse and explosion. By this age however, it will be a chronic lung condition that kills them.
20 meters below ground, stifling temperatures, toxic dusts, no oxygen and for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is what the miners do to survive.
Travellers are allowed down the mine with a guide if they bring gifts of juice, tabacco and dynamite for the mners.
This was the moment of clarity for me. This is Juan, a 12yr old child that I gave dynamite to so that he and his father can blow up and extract veins of silver from the rock. I have often wondered if he is still alive today.
Our guide helping us to prepare the dynamite.
An explosive green ball of dynamite waiting for its fuse.