Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 2

Collection with 48 media items created by Transterra Editor

19 Jan 2011 09:00

In the remote East Java, Indonesia lies the ominous Kawah Ijen volcano, topped with an immense crater and a 200-meter-deep lake of sulfuric acid. It is within this precarious work environment where miners spend their days, hacking chunks of cooled sulfur with steel bars and ferrying up and down the mountain twin basket loads that weigh between 130 and 220 pounds. As they break up sulfur, they are perpetually engulfed in a cloud of smoke. Respiratory issues are rife among the workers because of this, who brave their surroundings with minimal to no protection. There is little pay-off for this sacrifice, as the daily earnings range from a mere $8 - $12. Gloves and gas masks are an unaffordable luxury.

An active vent at the edge of the lake is a source of elemental sulphur, and is what supports the mining operation. Escaping volcanic gases are channelled through a network of ceramic pipes, which causes the condensation of molten sulfur. The sulfur, which is deep red in colour when molten, pours slowly from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools. It is this sulfur that keeps the miners returning every day despite the danger posed to their health, desperate to make a living.

Photos By: Jeffrey Bright

Kawah Ijen Indonesia Sulfur Mines Asia Southeast Asia Volcano Labor Dangerous Fumes Smoke Gas Acid Sulfur Mining

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 1
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner weighs his load at the local mining office. Typical loads range from 60–100 kilograms. Miners will make this trip two or three times a day, with typical earnings of approximately €9 per day.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 2
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Miners carry baskets of sulfur up from the crater of the Ijen volcano complex outside Banyuwangi.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 23
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Inside the crater of the the Ijen volcano in East Java. The Ijen volcano is filled with sulfuric acid and it rises to 2,800m with a crater of over 200 meters deep and nearly one kilometer wide.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 3
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Many of the miners have no protective clothing. A few have basic masks, most rely on little more than a T-shirt gripped in their teeth.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 6
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The poisonous clouds are hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide gases so concentrated they burn the eyes and throat, and can eventually dissolve the miners' teeth.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 24
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners have little in the way of protective gear beyond a damp cloth to cover the nose and mouth. Gloves and gas masks are an unaffordable luxury for men paid approx. €9 a day.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 7
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The status level of the active volcano was raised by the Indonesian government to 'alert' in July 2012 and this warning is still in effect today. Residents advised to stay clear of a 1.5-km radius from the crater. Nevertheless, miners still work daily amidst toxic fumes.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner maintains pipes that are driven into the fissures in the rock to extract sulphur from the mountain. Escaping volcanic gases are channeled through a network of ceramic pipes, resulting in condensation of molten sulphur.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner is overcome by the toxic gases whilst collecting sulphur. The miners have little in the way of protective gear beyond a cloth to cover the nose and mouth.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 10
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner is overcome by the toxic gases whilst collecting sulphur. The miners have little in the way of protective gear beyond a cloth to cover the nose and mouth.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 11
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner takes a quick break during the afternoon. Extracting sulphur, once known as brimstone from Ijen volcano. Matches and white sugar are among the products made with sulphur from an active volcano in Indonesia.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 13
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners have a protective gear beyond a damp cloth to cover the nose and mouth. Gloves and gas masks are not affordable . Men are paid approx. €9 a day.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 5
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Miners load the heavy rocks of sulphur into baskets and carry them up to the rim of the crater. Then they carry the baskets, weighing up to 90kg to a further 3 kilometers collection point.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Escaping volcanic gases are channeled through a network of ceramic pipes, resulting in condensation of molten sulfur. The miners then break up the sulphur deposits and carry them out of the crater to a nearby sugar refinery.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Miner becomes ingulfed in smoke as he brakes away chunkes of sulphur at Kawah Ijen sulphur mines,.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

In the past 40 years, 74 miners have died after being overpowered by fumes that can suddenly swirl from fissures in the rock.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner tries to escape the toxic smoke at Kawah Ijen sulphur mines.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 16
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
18 Jan 2011

A miner tries to escape the toxic smoke at Kawah Ijen sulphur mines.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner collects pieces of sulphur. Sulphur has a range of uses from fertiliser to cosmetics to gun powder, but most of that mined at the volcano is supplied to a local factory where it is used to bleach sugar.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

In the past 40 years, 74 miners have died after being overpowered by fumes that can suddenly swirl from fissures in the rock.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners brake off pieces of sulphur with steel bars, braving extremely dangerous gases and liquids with minimal protection.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners working with hammers and metal poles, break the deposits up into chunks and load them into baskets.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 17
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

In the past 40 years, 74 miners have died after being overpowered by fumes that can suddenly swirl from fissures in the rock.

Thumb sm
Sulfer Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Many of the miners have no protective clothing. Few have basic masks, however most rely on a little piece cloth to cover their mouth.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 18
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miners breaks off pieces of sulfur with steel bars.It is a work that demands bravery since they are susceptible to extremely dangerous gases and liquids with minimal protection.

Thumb sm
Sulfur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 19
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner lifts a large pieces of sulfur. Miners break the cooled sulfur and load up their wicker baskets to be carried out of the crater. Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.19/01/2011

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The poisonous clouds are hydrogen sulphide and sulphur dioxide gases so concentrated they burn the eyes and throat, and can eventually dissolve the miners' teeth.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners break the cooled sulphur into chunks, and load up their wicker baskets for the 200 metre climb back up out of the crater.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners hack at chunks of sulphur with steel bars, braving extremely dangerous gases and liquids with minimal protection.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The life expectancy of the miners is low. Most miners make this journey twice a day. Serious injuries, especially chest and eye problems, are common but these men accept this with resignation. The miner there get paid around €9 per day which is twice better daily income what they could earn on the coffee plantations.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner collects a large pieces of sulphur. Miners break up the cooled sulphur and load up their wicker baskets to be carried out of the crater.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Many of the miners have no protective clothing. A few have basic masks, most rely on little more than a T-shirt covering their face.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner tries to escape the toxic smoke at Kawah Ijen sulphur mines.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 20
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

In the past 40 years, 74 miners have died after being overpowered by fumes that can suddenly swirl from fissures in the rock.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia 21
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Miner loads the heavy rocks of sulphur into baskets and carry them up to the rim of the crater. The miners then carry the baskets, weighing up to 90kg, a further three kilometres to a collection point.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Miner retreats as he tries to escape the toxic smoke at Kawah Ijen sulphur mines.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

Miner loads the heavy rocks of sulphur into baskets and carry them up to the rim of the crater. The miners then carry the baskets, weighing up to 90kg, a further three kilometres to a collection point.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

The miners have little in the way of protective gear beyond a cloth to cover the nose and mouth.

Thumb sm
Sulphur Mines at Kawah Ijen Indonesia
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia.
By Jeffrey Bright
19 Jan 2011

A miner collecting sulphur tries to escape the toxic smoke at Kawah Ijen sulphur mines.