Potosi Silver Mine



During colonial times, the miners at Potosi’s silver mines were forced to endure harsh and dangerous conditions. For the 10,000 or so men who currently work in the mines, sadly little has changed. They still work with sub-standard, even primitive, safety equipment and many develop silicosis, a lung disease that frequently results in early death. Not to mention the lack of adequate lighting and ventilation… For most of these workers, the mines are, alas, their only option – there is no other way to make money.

For an eye-opening glimpse into what these miners endure in their daily lives, you can take tour of a working mine. The tour beings with a stop at the Miners’ Market where you can purchase provisions for the underground workers. Consider buying coco leaves, cigarettes, beverages or snacks – all of which will be welcomingly received. Next, it’s time to enter the mine itself. As you descend into the claustrophobic darkness of the dimly-lit underground tunnels, spare a thought for the unfortunate men who are forced to spend much of their lives in these hellish surrounds. A visit to the Potosi miners will cause you to contemplate the disparities between your own life and theirs, and act as a stark reminder of the undeniable inequality of our world.

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