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The Green Rush
Carnaiba
By DIOSCURI
10 Jan 2015

Think about the gold rush, but forget about America, cowboys, westerns.
Mines, miners, galleries 200 meters beneath the ground, entrepreneurs, men of faith, and emeralds. Loads of emeralds. This is what the Green Rush is about. The state of Pernambuco, in the Northeast of Brazil, is one of the most important emerald producers in the entire world and here, in the city of Carnaiba, everything revolves around these precious stones.
And if you think that this business is just for few, you might be wrong: here everyone has the possibility to take advantage of this green fever.
A kind of 2.0 version of the New Eldorado, rigorously made in Brazil.

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In Search of Poland's Black Gold
Walbrzych, Poland
By Michael Biach
29 Dec 2014

(FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST)

For centuries coal mining has been the most important industry in Walbrzych, Poland. However, in the 1980s many of the coal mines became unprofitable. With Poland's transformation from a state-directed to a free-market economy in the 1990s, nearly all of the coal mines in Lower Silesia were shut down. Thousands of people became jobless.

The area still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country despite new industry settling in the area. It didn't take very long until the jobless miners in the area started to dig for coal on their own. The business is dangerous and illegal. Tunnels leading as deep as ten or fifteen meters below the ground are only protected by wood and sandbags. Inside, people dig for coal the same way they did centuries ago, by hand.

Police regularly arrest illegal coal miners and confiscate their equipment, so most people dig by night to avoid police control. Not only the well-educated former miners search for 'black gold,' but also young and unexperienced jobless men risk their freedom and their lives to make a couple of Euros a night by selling illegal coal to residents.

Every year several people die after tunnels collapse. Roman Janiszek is a former coal miner, now an illegal miner who has founded a committee that is trying to make the activities legal and also to keep track of the situation in the outskirts of Walbrzych. Roman also points to the fact that people not only lost their jobs and privileges but also their social position with the closing of the mines. Once prideful coal miners, people like Roman Janiszek now work illegally every night to make a living.

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Coal Miners in Slovenia 3
Zagorje, Slovenia
By Vukasin Sobot
04 Dec 2013

A lamp which in history prevented coalminers to be hurt by gas

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Coal Miners in Slovenia 11
Hrastnik, Slovenia
By Vukasin Sobot
04 Dec 2013

Heath and dust are everdays comagnion of coalminers.

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Coal Miners in Slovenia 13
Hrastnik, Slovenia
By Vukasin Sobot
04 Dec 2013

Coalminers afforded to get a short pause during their production day almost 300 m below the earth.

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Gun Disease in Myanmar
By Spike Johnson
10 Oct 2013

In the gold mines of Sinktu and Thabait Kyin, in the Mandalay division of Myanmar, gold mining is famous. Over thirty gold mines are active, but the scene doesn't look much like wealth. Half naked men, with rusty pneumatic drills and homemade dynamite are lowered 500 feet, on fraying ropes, into holes in the ground. Covering their faces with rags, they drill gold ore from the stone.

“We break the rocks with high pressured guns, but breathe the small particles that come from breaking the stone. We contract lung infections that we call "gun disease," says Wat Tay, 35, a gold miner from Sintku Township.

This year gold production in the area has doubled due to softening government sanctions and international demand. Myanmar's huge mineral deposits are seen as key sectors in export-driven growth. In recent months the price of gold has slowly risen in Myanmar, possibly linked to the decline of the dollar, as an opportunistic public sell their jewelry at high prices ready to buy back if prices drop.

Forums are being held in capital cities by the Myanmar government, mine owners, and the Ministry of Mines to persuade foreign investment from corporate companies for industrial technology. The idea is to reduce Myanmar's poverty rate from 26 percent to 16 percent by 2015, by exporting the country's gold reserves. However, added demand for export means an increased need for manpower, working hours, and medical support.

Through the night groups of men squat above mine shafts, ankle deep in muddy puddles, waiting to haul out ore or winch up their friends. After working in the mines for around ten years, the worker's lungs give in form undiagnosed diseases. Hidden in bamboo huts, attached to oxygen, they weaze out their last days.

“The owners of gold pits don't care about the health issues of the miners, so the health problems are increasing. They don't pay for safety protection for us, so we make do ourselves, like putting some clothes over our mouths, or buying cheap masks to reduce the dust we breath in,” says Wat Tay.

Miners are given one or two bananas after a shift in the tunnels, to help with nutrition. But no respiration equipment is provided by the mine owners, and the miners don't have the money to invest in equipment themselves. Although cases are frequent, perhaps inevitable, there is no health care system for the miners and no diagnosis of “gun disease.” Instead they are given a tank of oxygen and left to fend for themselves, too weak to seek other employment or to leave their huts.

“I can't breathe well. If I breath my abdominal muscles are tight and it hurts also in my back. I pain feel when I breathe. Twice they've given me pills for Tuberculosis, but this medicine has no effect for me,” says Kwin Tone Sel, 42. He used to mine in Sintku Township, before his lung disease prevented him from leaving his bed.

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
17 Sep 2013

Traditional oil miner gathers buckets of crude oil to begin the distillation process of converting it into diesel fuel. Distillation is accomplished by heating the filtered crude oil to between 200 °C (392 °F) and 350 °C (662 °F). Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Traditional oil wells East Java Indon...
Cepu, Indonesia
By Jeffrey Bright
17 Sep 2013

Motorcycle is loaded with drums of diesel and transported to nearby villages to be sold. Cepu, Indonesia. 25/01/2011

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
09 Aug 2013

Saint Barbara is the patron saint of the miners. This photo was taken on Saint Barbara day in Bacu Abis, Sardinia, a small town where most of the 1500 inhabitants work in the near by coal mine.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

Andrea, 41, the supervisor of the subsoil, stands with some of his colleagues in the lift used to go down the mine. It takes ten minutes to get out of the mine, which is 450 meters below the sea level.

Andrea has two children. His wife owns a small shop art shop in a small town near by the mine but she will not make enough money to support a family of four when the mine closes down.

“We are dead already” this is the meaning for the workers of the last remaining coal mine in Sardinia, Italy, to point at the inevitabile fate of their industry. They are part of the process which, over a few decades, has seen the decay of the role of the coal mining industry in Europe. Areas which for decades had been relign on this industry are left to reinvent their economies, having to deal with a heavily polluted environment and a highly specialized work force for a profession which belongs to the past.

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Xanti Mortu
By Andrea Falletta
07 Aug 2013

Two miners walking across the mine with their their tools.

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The Cyanide Mountain
Karnataka, India
By Javed Iqbal
10 Mar 2013

A view of farmlands in threat from what local farmers call the 'cyanide mountain', formed by the dumping of mine tailings from the local gold mine.

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The Story of the Gold Mine in India
Karnataka, India
By Mais Istanbuli
10 Mar 2013

India’s abandoned Mangalur mine has been closed for 20 years, however, its toxic waste continues to haunt the lives of those inhabiting surrounding villages.

In Kanataka’s Raichur District, mine tailings continue to be dumped on farmland, rendering it not only unfertile, but also poisonous to residents. Tests on soil samples have shown this practice has effectively made the soil unsafe for use for at least 25 years.

Economic and social sectors are not the only areas suffering as a result of the toxic dumping. Locals ominously refer to the area as the 'cyanide' mountain, owing to the large amounts of sodium cyanide present in the tailings.

Chandibai, a 70-year old woman from Kiradali Tanda village, has developed deep lesions on her hands because of arsenic in the local drinking water.

Thirty-eight year old Kishan Chauhan has also been highly affected by the poisonous contents of the water. He lost his leg to gangrene after a lesion, caused by arsenic poisoning, became infected. He has since migrated over 500 kilometers away to Dodamargh, Savantwadi in Belgaum, where he earns 200 Rs (around 4 dollars) per week breaking stones. Despite his handicap, he has no choice but to work in hard labor to support his wife and two young daughters.

Dozens of such cases continue to emerge from Kiradali Tanda, where an independent study has shown has shown that water from village wells contains around 303 micrograms of arsenic per liter. The World Health Organization currently cites 10 micrograms per liter as the maximum acceptable level for human exposure.

India’s Mangalur mine, just four kilometers from the arsenic-ridden village of Kiradalli Tandi, originally began as a colonial project of Britain’s empire in the late 19th century. Karnataka’s government briefly reopened the mine nearly 70 years later, until flooding again forced it to close in 1994.

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The Vengeful Ghosts Of A Gold Mine
Karnataka, India
By Javed Iqbal
07 Mar 2013

Chandibai, aged 70 shows lesions on her hands caused by arsenic in local drinking water.

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The Closed Entrance To An Abandoned G...
Mangalur, Yadgir, Karnataka, India
By Javed Iqbal
07 Mar 2013

The sealed-off entrance to the abandoned mine, whose toxic tailings continue to endanger inhabitants of surrounding villages.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 19
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
26 Jan 2013

A central street in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
La Rinconada was a nice, quiet rural village in Peru’s Los Andes range twenty years ago. However, the economic crisis in the country and the discovery of gold changed the town completely during the nineties. Now, it is a crowded place where thousands of the poor from all over South America frequently immigrate looking for opportunity. The precious metal has transformed La Rinconada into a chaotic village of nearly 50,000 inhabitants (four times more than the past) with a serious lack of social services.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 18
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
24 Jan 2013

Cerro Lunar: Vanesa Canesa is photographed with her daughter Ana Paula in front of their little house, made with stones and "calamina" (metal layer), in Cerro Lunar, Ananea, Peru. Vanesa is a miner's wife and she used to support her husband working on "Pallaqueo" (collecting stones thrown from the mines looking for gold) and now she quit due to health reasons.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 20
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
23 Jan 2013

Left to right, Lucy Callpacruz and Norma Quispe (with her two children Eduardo Cristian and Chantal Ochoqui), both miner's wives, are pictured in their little house made with "calamina" (metal layer) in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru. Lucy has nine children and she is from Putina. From time to time, Lucy and Norma support their husbands working as "Pallaqueos" (selecting stones from the mine dumps looking for gold).

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 24
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
21 Jan 2013

A child is dressed by her mother after being assisted by a doctor at the health center in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru. Most of the children in La Rinconada suffer malnutrition and problems of growth due to cold weather and pollution.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 3
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
20 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps looking for gold) is pictured at work in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 8
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
20 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps looking for gold) is pictured at work in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 5
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
20 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps) smokes cigarettes during a break in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 4
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
20 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps) prepares a shot of an alcoholic drink during a break in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 12
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
19 Jan 2013

Pallaqueras (women who select stones from the mine dumps looking for remains of gold) are pictured at work in a mining area in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 15
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

A miner guides a truck inside a goldmine in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

17 January 2013. La Rinconada: A group of miners in a security check-point inside a goldmine in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru, are waiting their turn to work.
La Rinconada was a nice, quiet rural village in Peru’s Los Andes range twenty years ago. However, the economic crisis in the country and the discovery of gold changed the town completely during the nineties. Now, it is a crowded place where thousands of the poor from all over South America frequently immigrate looking for opportunity. The precious metal has transformed La Rinconada into a chaotic village of nearly 50,000 inhabitants (four times more than the past) with a serious lack of social services. The increase in the price of gold (25% last year and 600% in ten years) has pushed many more people to move up there.
Nowadays, the landscape in La Rinconada is full of metallic shelters built without official permits. There is no pavement, sewers and running water. It is full of rubbish and defecation everywhere. It is now a place with serious problems of alcoholism, drugs and crime. The police is nearly absent and illegal prostitution is always present. The use of mercury to separate gold from rock has created a high level of pollution that provokes aggressiveness among the population. This, added to the fact that La Rinconada is about 6,000 meters altitude, causes also breath sicknesses (especially among children) and the local clinic covers just 10% of the needs. Despite some apparent efforts of the local administration, the situation is getting worse year by year.
Photo by Albert González Farran.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 2
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

La Rinconada: "Pallaqueras" (women who select stones from the mine dumps) go to work in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 6
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps looking for gold) works in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

17 January 2013. La Rinconada: "Pallaqueras" (women who select stones from the mine dumps) eat and rest outside their huts during a break in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
La Rinconada was a nice, quiet rural village in Peru’s Los Andes range twenty years ago. However, the economic crisis in the country and the discovery of gold changed the town completely during the nineties. Now, it is a crowded place where thousands of the poor from all over South America frequently immigrate looking for opportunity. The precious metal has transformed La Rinconada into a chaotic village of nearly 50,000 inhabitants (four times more than the past) with a serious lack of social services. The increase in the price of gold (25% last year and 600% in ten years) has pushed many more people to move up there.
Nowadays, the landscape in La Rinconada is full of metallic shelters built without official permits. There is no pavement, sewers and running water. It is full of rubbish and defecation everywhere. It is now a place with serious problems of alcoholism, drugs and crime. The police is nearly absent and illegal prostitution is always present. The use of mercury to separate gold from rock has created a high level of pollution that provokes aggressiveness among the population. This, added to the fact that La Rinconada is about 6,000 meters altitude, causes also breath sicknesses (especially among children) and the local clinic covers just 10% of the needs. Despite some apparent efforts of the local administration, the situation is getting worse year by year.
Photo by Albert González Farran.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 7
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps looking for gold) inspects some stones in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 26
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
17 Jan 2013

A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps) takes her selection back home at the end of the workday in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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La Rinconada, into the gold's bubble 21
La RInconada, Peru
By Albert Gonzalez Farran
13 Jan 2013

People play football under the snow in a neighborhood in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.

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Uganda: Slaves of their own survival ...
Katwe Vllage Uganda
By Piero Pomponi World Focus
17 Aug 2012

Lake Katwe - Uganda - 2012-08-17- Formed about ten thousand years ago from a volcanic eruption, Lake Katwe lies in Queen Elisabeth National Park, in Kasese district, western Uganda, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo through Lake Edward.

Lake Katwe salt mine is a source of livelihood to over three thousand people in the area and in good times hundreds of salt miners at Lake Katwe can make a reasonable living, even if in self-slavery. Due to the hyper saline water that sucks moisture from their bodies and infuses them with toxic chemicals, there are severe health complications. The smell of hydrogen sulphide is all over the place.

For the women, when the female reproductive organs get in contact with this salty water, more often they develop uterine complications. The men on the other hand are also affected. When the male organs come into contact with this salty water they itch, and excessive scratching can cause wounds.

Surviving for a meager five dollars a day is a poor income. Coarse salt is still mined the way it was done over centuries years ago. Men, women and children all work at the mines for their own survival, including a large number of refugees from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo. Workers extract three main products from Lake Katwe: blocks of rock salt used in curing hides; high quality salt crystals that can be sold as table salt; and salty mud that is used as salt licks for cattle.

Theses pictures show salt miners working on a salt pans pile on the shores of Lake Katwe.

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Uganda: Slaves of their own survival ...
Katwe Village Uganda
By Piero Pomponi World Focus
17 Aug 2012

Lake Katwe - Uganda - 2012-08-17- Formed about ten thousand years ago from a volcanic eruption, Lake Katwe lies in Queen Elisabeth National Park, in Kasese district, western Uganda, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo through Lake Edward.

Lake Katwe salt mine is a source of livelihood to over three thousand people in the area and in good times hundreds of salt miners at Lake Katwe can make a reasonable living, even if in self-slavery. Due to the hyper saline water that sucks moisture from their bodies and infuses them with toxic chemicals, there are severe health complications. The smell of hydrogen sulphide is all over the place.

For the women, when the female reproductive organs get in contact with this salty water, more often they develop uterine complications. The men on the other hand are also affected. When the male organs come into contact with this salty water they itch, and excessive scratching can cause wounds.

Surviving for a meager five dollars a day is a poor income. Coarse salt is still mined the way it was done over centuries years ago. Men, women and children all work at the mines for their own survival, including a large number of refugees from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo. Workers extract three main products from Lake Katwe: blocks of rock salt used in curing hides; high quality salt crystals that can be sold as table salt; and salty mud that is used as salt licks for cattle.

Theses pictures show salt miners working on a salt pans pile on the shores of Lake Katwe.

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Uganda: Slaves of Their Own Survival ...
Katwe Village, Uganda
By Piero Pomponi World Focus
17 Aug 2012

Lake Katwe - Uganda - 2012-08-17- Formed about ten thousand years ago from a volcanic eruption, Lake Katwe lies in Queen Elisabeth National Park, in Kasese district, western Uganda, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo through Lake Edward.

Lake Katwe salt mine is a source of livelihood to over three thousand people in the area and in good times hundreds of salt miners at Lake Katwe can make a reasonable living, even if in self-slavery. Due to the hyper saline water that sucks moisture from their bodies and infuses them with toxic chemicals, there are severe health complications. The smell of hydrogen sulphide is all over the place.

For the women, when the female reproductive organs get in contact with this salty water, more often they develop uterine complications. The men on the other hand are also affected. When the male organs come into contact with this salty water they itch, and excessive scratching can cause wounds.

Surviving for a meager five dollars a day is a poor income. Coarse salt is still mined the way it was done over centuries years ago. Men, women and children all work at the mines for their own survival, including a large number of refugees from the nearby Democratic Republic of Congo. Workers extract three main products from Lake Katwe: blocks of rock salt used in curing hides; high quality salt crystals that can be sold as table salt; and salty mud that is used as salt licks for cattle.

Theses pictures show salt miners working on a salt pans pile on the shores of Lake Katwe.