A miner lights a dynamite fuse in the Cerro Rico mine in Potosí– Spanish for “Rich Mountain.” Mining in Cerro Rico is called a harmful occupation. “They have actually entire graveyards devoted to individuals who pass away in mine collapses,” states Andrea Marston, a scientist who studies Bolivian mining. “The peak of it has actually been gradually collapsing due to the fact that there’s a lot being gotten rid of from the within.”.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

A miner lights a dynamite fuse in the Cerro Rico mine in Potosí– Spanish for “Rich Mountain.” Mining in Cerro Rico is called a harmful occupation. “They have actually entire graveyards devoted to individuals who pass away in mine collapses,” states Andrea Marston, a scientist who studies Bolivian mining. “The peak of it has actually been gradually collapsing due to the fact that there’s a lot being gotten rid of from the within.”

Simone Francescangeli.

Operating in Bolivia’s mines is a household organisation.

That’s what Italian professional photographer Simone Francescangeli saw when he took a trip to the city of Potosí of about 250,000 to record the lives of miners. They belong to a centuries-old business to extract silver, tin, zinc and gold from the mountains. He was struck by the severe and in some cases hazardous conditions the miners operate in– and by the variety of kids he saw operating in the mines. Some were teens. One child stated he was 11 years of ages.

In Potosí, numerous kids operate in mines, frequently joining their dads or other relative in the tunnels when they’re not in school, states Andrea Marston, a scientist at University of California, Berkeley who studies Bolivian mining cooperatives. The cash they make enables them to play a part in supporting their households.

Francescangeli states young boys in some cases work long hours and are frequently charged with pressing carts to move rocks out of the mines. “Being a kid in these locations is truly difficult,” he states. “If they have a long time to invest in a totally free method, they like to be kids. However their life does not allow them to be kids so frequently.”.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

Francescangeli states young boys in some cases work long hours and are frequently charged with pressing carts to move rocks out of the mines. “Being a kid in these locations is truly difficult,” he states. “If they have a long time to invest in a totally free method, they like to be kids. However their life does not allow them to be kids so frequently.”

Simone Francescangeli.

Many ladies do not get in the mines for cultural factors, residents informed professional photographer Francescangeli, due to the fact that miners think about the earth as a lady. “A female can not get in another female,” they informed him. Some ladies look for minerals outside the mines and others secure the tunnel entryways to keep unapproved miners out, befriending roaming pets to assist them keep watch.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

Many ladies do not get in the mines for cultural factors, residents informed professional photographer Francescangeli, due to the fact that miners think about the earth as a lady. “A female can not get in another female,” they informed him. Some ladies look for minerals outside the mines and others secure the tunnel entryways to keep unapproved miners out, befriending roaming pets to assist them keep watch.

Simone Francescangeli.

” Miners are scraping by,” states Marston. “It’s more like a household farming structure. Kids are assisting their households instead of dealing with their own.”

As much as a point, they’re lawfully permitted to do so. In Bolivia, kids need to be 14 years of ages to work, though some exceptions are produced less hazardous tasks. However the policy is not well enforced, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which approximates almost a quarter million Bolivian kids ages 7 to 14 work which these children “take part in the worst kinds of kid labor, consisting of in mining.”

Young miners head house after working within Cerro Rico. In Potosí, Marston states kids frequently go to school while likewise operating in the mines. “They hole up in the early morning and night, then they go to school in the day,” states Marston. She states some kids operate in the mines “due to the fact that they have a dad who has actually been eliminated, and they require loan.”.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

Young miners head house after working within Cerro Rico. In Potosí, Marston states kids frequently go to school while likewise operating in the mines. “They hole up in the early morning and night, then they go to school in the day,” states Marston. She states some kids operate in the mines “due to the fact that they have a dad who has actually been eliminated, and they require loan.”

Simone Francescangeli.

A kid plays after operating in the Cerro Rico mines.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

A kid plays after operating in the Cerro Rico mines.

Simone Francescangeli.

” Part of the factor there’s no enforcement is due to the fact that mining cooperatives have actually been quite encouraging of the federal government,” Marston states. “They likewise have a track record for being violent.” In 2016, miners abducted and eliminated a federal government authorities throughout a strike over labor problems.

The work brings dangers for both grownups and kids. Francescangeli saw employees get in the mines without any protective equipment besides a helmet. The kids, he states, are normally charged with pressing carts to move rock and minerals out of the mine. Older miners invest their days searching for metals, breathing in the dust from drilling and dynamite surges they set off. As an outcome, states Marston, miners frequently wind up with silicosis, an illness brought on by breathing in the mineral silica, which harms the lungs and can make it hard to breathe.

Miners leave offerings of alcohol and tobacco for El Tío, a god who’s believed to be a protector of the mines, in the hope he will keep them safe.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

Miners leave offerings of alcohol and tobacco for El Tío, a god who’s believed to be a protector of the mines, in the hope he will keep them safe.

Simone Francescangeli.

Francescangeli states he chose to experience the mines as Bolivians do. Electronic cameras in hand, he entered without a mask to safeguard versus dust. He states he had a hard time to breathe, especially at Potosí’s high elevation of 13,000 feet and in the heat of the tunnels, which he states increased above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. He states when he left the mines on the very first day, he had difficulty seeing till he washed the dust from his eyes.

” It resembled a blanket over my eyes,” he states.

Lots of miners work without a breathing mask, so they breathe in dust from the mining that can cause scarring of the lungs called silicosis.

Simone Francescangeli.


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Simone Francescangeli.

Lots of miners work without a breathing mask, so they breathe in dust from the mining that can cause scarring of the lungs called silicosis.

Simone Francescangeli.

The darkness in the mines ended up being a main aspect of Francescangeli’s images, which he chose to shoot in black and white. Since of their headlamps, he states, miners can just see straight ahead.

” To live all day in this sort of darkness, seeing just the important things in front of your eyes, it’s an unusual method to live,” he states.