Tags / Mine
As the bloody military conflict in eastern Ukraine drags on, work at the country’s largest salt mine continues, even though it operates just a few kilometers from heavy fighting between Russian-backed insurgents and Ukrainian forces.
Artemsol, in the town of Soledar in the Donetsk region, employs more than 3,000 local residents. It is the lifeblood of a community that has found itself on the front lines of the violent conflict.
Workers in the mine say they cannot leave because they need their jobs to survive.
The salt mine is facing financial setbacks after Russia blocked imports of its food-grade salt amid the conflict between the two former Soviet republics. Russia’s consumer watchdog has blocked imports of some Ukrainian food products for what it says are safety concerns. Ukraine and foreign observers say Russia is targeting certain industries to punish the Ukrainian economy.
The mine’s general director, Denys Fomenko, says the government-run company is looking for more clients in Europe, but ultimately he hopes Russia will reopen its borders to Artemsol.
Fighting in eastern Ukraine has forced many of the Donetsk region’s industries - mostly coal mines - to shut down. But Artemsol has managed to keep running.
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In Arizona Apache activists lead a 45 mile march culminating in an open-ended occupation of sacred land recently turned over to Resolution Copper for mining. In December Sen. John McCain attached a rider to the Defense Bill giving the 2,400 acre Oak Flat to the Rio Tinto subsidiary. This story follows several activists during the actions, beginning on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and through the occupation at Oak Flat.
Originally Oak Flat was part of the initial San Carlos Indian Reservation when it was established in 1872. As with much of the land surrounding the Reservation as it exists today, the land was taken away from the Apache Tribes parcel by parcel in the late-19th and early-20th centuries and given to an expanding mining industry. Oak Flat, however, unlike other parcels, was made exempt from mining in 1955 by an executive order issued by Pres. Dwight Eisenhower and was preserved as part of the Tonto National Forest. December's legislation effectively overturns that executive order.
The Apache now living on the San Carlos Reservation are not traditionally from that specific area. Apache tribes lived in the surrounding mountains, including the area of Oak Flat, before being defeated by the US Calvary and driven onto the Reservation in the late 1800s. The Reservation was originally a prison camp. Oak Flat is one of several sites that was once Apache land but has long since been out of the tribes' control. For countless generations the site has been considered a holy place in their native religion. In addition to it being an ancestral home of the Apache, Oak Flat is also a burial site; a place to gather acorns as part of a traditional fall ritual; and a location for the Sunrise Ceremony, the coming-of-age ceremony for young Apache women, among other traditions.
What makes the Oak Flat mining project especially controversial is the method of mining that will be used, called "block cave mining." At Oak Flat, the copper ore lies more than a mile beneath the surface. In contrast to conventional mining practices, "block cave" essentially digs deep and removes all of the matter from a site - copper ore, earth, waste, etc. - and the top eventually caves in on top of the cavern. This is a far cheaper but far more destructive process. Once the mine is in full operation no one will be permitted to access Oak Flat - not campers, climbers, and hikers; not the Apache who consider it a sacred place. And according to Resolution Copper itself, as the entire surface collapses Oak Flat will eventually be destroyed.
The amount of IEDs left by the Islamic State is staggering. 'Not normal', says the mayor of Makhmour. According to Kurdish government and Peshmerga officials, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines planted by Islamic State militants are the biggest cause of casualties for Peshmerga forces. ISIS has adopted the tactic of heavily seeding all of the territory it withdraws from with the deadly devices, with the intent of slowing down Peshmerga advances. Some IEDs are also intentionally left in fields and homes to target civilians according to Kurdish officials. We go to the frontlines with a Peshmerga engineer team specialized in dismantling the devices, and speak to a farmer who is affected by Islamic State IEDs. The mayor of the city of Makhmour, whose community is still dealing with getting rid of massive amounts of IEDs ISIS left in August, also weighs in on the subject.
Smoke comes out of a drain along the main road in Jharia, hinting at the alarming levels of underground fires in area. A few years ago, fires damaged the Jharia railway station, leading to its eventual closure.
Activists claim that the mining company in charge of the coal operations are allowing the fires to persist. The company is said to do this because the fires force residents off of their land for safety reasons, thus opening more prospective areas for mining.
Miners push around 350 kilograms of on a bicycle up a hillside.
A young girl miner observes her colleagues. Many local children are forced to work pilfering coal from state-owned mines in the area.
A miner takes a break overlooking the state-run open pit coal mine in Jharia. Miners have to manually carry large loads of coal from the bottom of the mine to the top, where it is delivered for processing.
A boy carrying a heavy load of coal over his head in Jharia. Many local children are forced to work pilfering coal from state-owned mines in the area.
Miners have to manually carry large loads of coal from the bottom of the mine to the top, where it is delivered for processing.
A young miner takes a break.
A female miner balances raw coal stones on her head. The work is grueling and harmful to the health of the workers.
Smoke from underground fires rise in the state-run open pit mine near Jharia.
Miners have to manually carry large loads of coal from the bottom of the mine to the top, where it is delivered for processing.
Roughly 700,000 people live immediately above a series of underground fires that have been smoldering in the town of Jharia for a century, come next year. The government of India is, quite literally, playing with fire.
“State-run coal firm BCCL is deliberately stoking the fire so that they can have more and more of the area declared unsafe to live in and get a broader area in which to continue its mining operations,” says activist Ashok Agarwal of Jharia Coalfield Bachao Samiti, an organization formed by locals to fight the government’s dictatorial policies.
The area is rich in coal and, to cut costs, much of the mining in the area is done by opencast methods. Opencast mining is more profitable than deep mining since the costs of excavation are low and productivity is significantly higher. In Jharia, some 270km from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand province, coal is mined everywhere. People armed with shovels dig their way into rat-hole mines near villages and dwellings, roads and even railway tracks.
Bokalpari is one of the many areas affected by the perennial fires in Jharia: no less than 67 have been raging in the belly of the earth. Mining in the area is a source of revenue and livelihood. But with the advent of modern machines, a majority of the manual workforce has become redundant. For villagers like Shamim Khan, mining has become more of a curse. Shamim used to work as driver’s assistant, but is currently unemployed.
“I haven’t had a job for around 5 years now," he said. "When my forefathers came here decades ago hoping to earn a good living, they left their land and property behind in Bihar. Now, we cannot even go and reclaim that land.”
Coal-seam fires annually spew around 1.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making India the fourth biggest producer of greenhouse gas of the world. In Jharia, mining started back in 1896. After the nationalization of all coalmines in 1971, many were handed over to the state-owned Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL). But the desire to produce cheaper and cheaper coal prompted BCCL to depart from the standard practice of underground or tunnel mining in 1974.
“Coal-seam fires are nothing new in the coal belt. But they became a threat after BCCL opened up the mines,” says Agarwal.
The underground fires in Jharia will be a century old next year, but the government seems to be doing little to douse the flames.
“The BCCL is digging the fire out as part of the master plan,” says T K Lahiri, a managing director of BCCL.
Though mining companies are officially meant to fill abandoned mines with sand, anyone can see that the pits are left unattended. According to local residents, the leftover coal in these pits then comes into contact with oxygen and catches fire. The government’s plan of relocating residents of fire-affected areas has not yet materialized due to resistance from the people and officials’ half-hearted approach to the issue. So far, around 1100 families out of 2500 have been relocated to a township in Belgaria. Those who have moved to the township complain of a lack of basic amenities and job opportunities. This has prompted many to return to their fire-ravaged villages.
“Since there is no source of employment, I have to travel 13km on foot to reach Bokapahari. I know people here so it is easier for me to get a job,” says Shamim, 45, whose two sons have migrated to Delhi where they work as daily wage laborers.
As for those who decided to stay on, a different kind of social problem has emerged. Now, boys and girls living in fire-affected parts of Jharia find it difficult to find a match for themselves. Akhtari Bano, 75, has three marriageable sons and two daughters, but is not able to find anyone suitable for them.
“It is not that the proposals don’t come at all. But when people come and see that we’re sitting on the lap of a burning fire and that smoke is always emanating from our houses, they run away,” she says. “The government might be having fun playing with fire. But why play with our lives?”
A football team for victims of landmines, called The Lebanese Landmine Survivors Team, was launched in 2001 by the The Lebanese Welfare Association for the Handicapped (LWAH), to bring survivors together once a week to play football and help cope with their injuries.
Today the group is still developing and the players play with their prosthetic limbs on. They even play against teams from other associations who do not suffer handicaps. The team is comprised of 15 players and aims to gather as many young people as possible who suffer war injuries and help them develop psychologically and socially. The team is the only one of its kind in Lebanon and the Arab World. Even on a world level, there aren’t any teams that play while wearing prosthetic limbs.
Today Lebanon is relatively peaceful, but a 15-year civil war and conflicts with neighboring countries, such as Israel and Syria, have left unexploded land mines and cluster munitions across swathes of the tiny country. Between 1975-2012 these unexploded devices killed 903 people and injured a further 2,780. The Mines Advisory Group (MAG), a British NGO that works to clear unexploded ordinances in Lebanon, says that the number of accidents has recently increased.
The Lebanese Mine Action Centre (LMAC) aims to clear all cluster munitions by 2016 and almost all land mines by 2020. However, it is likely that these deadlines will not be met. When the land mines were laid, mostly during Lebanon’s civil war, no record of the locations was kept. It is impossible to know how many of the 4m cluster bombs that Israel fired on Lebanon during the 2006 war, failed to explode and still remain a danger.
(Man, Arabic): Dr. Bachir Abdul Hak, coach of the Lebanese survivor team:
(02:10) We had the idea of establishing this team in the Lebanese welfare association for the handicapped in the 1998, but we did not execute it until the year of 2000. We believe that all young men who suffer from a certain handicap need the physical and the athletic exercise to help them build their bodies, improve their physical and psychological health, and get out of their isolation. that is how the idea started, to provide a service that would help them socially and psychologically. (02:52)
(03:32) The team became like a family to me, we have been together for 14 years,all the children you see in the filed were born with us. i care a lot about this team and I give it all my time, and effort because it deserves the attention from us to be able to succeed. (05:52)
(Man, English) Ali Srour, player, 31 year old civil servant, from Aita al-Chaab, South of Lebanon. he lost his leg in a hunting trip near his village in 2001:
(Woman, English) Habiba Aoun, Coordinator of Land-mine research center (Balamand University)
A coal fire rages in an open coal mine in Jharia, India.
Fondy (51 years) is a contracter working for PT Timah, his mine produces 60 tons of tin a month. He hopes to be able to produce 80-100 tons next year. The Pemali mine, the biggest legal mine in Bangka that has completely devastated the once green landscape. Operated by PT-Timah, it produces 60 tons of tin per month. Bangka Island (Indonesia) is devastated by illegal tin mines. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.
Fondy (51 ans) est un sous-traitant, travaillant pour PT Timah, sa mine produit 60 tonnes d'étain par mois, il espère atteindre 80-100 tonnes l'année prochaine. Mine de Pemali, plus grande mine légale de Bangka. Exploité par PT-Timah. Elle produit 60 tonnes d'étain par mois. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.
Children play in the streets of Belgharia, a township that has been set to up accommodate residents of Jharia displaced by the fire.
Two women in the oil rich Bayelsa State mine small rocks out moulding sand to make ends mate.
Thirty-eight yea-old Kishan Chauhan lost his leg to gangrene after a lesion caused by arsenic poisoning became infected
Locals ominously refer to this area as ‘cyanide mountain,’ referring to the large amounts of sodium cyanide present in the tailings.
Unsafe dumping from the mine has effectively rendered surrounding farmlands both infertile and poisonous to their owners.
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.
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.
Chandibai, aged 70 shows lesions on her hands caused by arsenic in local drinking water.
The sealed-off entrance to the abandoned mine, whose toxic tailings continue to endanger inhabitants of surrounding villages.
A miner guides a truck inside a goldmine in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
An exhausted miner after drilling takes a rest and cleans his dirty face, while chewing coca leaf, inside a goldmine in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
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.
La Rinconada: "Pallaqueras" (women who select stones from the mine dumps) go to work in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
A "Pallaquera" (a woman who selects stones from the mine dumps looking for gold) works in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
Two "Pallaqueras" (women who select stones from the mine dumps) takes their selection back home at the end of the workday in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
A miner, on his way from work, crosses the main gate that connects the village with the goldmines, in La Rinconada, Ananea, Peru.
Still photography selection from various assignments and projects.
Tin mines on Bangka Island (Indonesia) seen from a plane.
The hidden side of high tech smartphones. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smartphones and tablets. Smartphone brands like Samsung and Apple deny all responsibility for the environmental situation in Bangka and refuse to give transparency in their tin supply chain. Bangka Island is devastated by illegal tin mines.
Miners sift sand in search of tin in an illegal tin mine in Reboh, Bangka Island, Indonesia. Tin mines have devastated the landscape of the island. This tin rush is a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. The demand for tin has significantly increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.
Mineurs tamisent du sable dans une Mine d'étain illégale à Reboh, île de Bangka (Indonésie). L'île est dévastée par cette ruée d'étain mortelle, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.
A miner is working in a huge illegal tin mine in Batako, Tunghin. The mine has completely devastated the once green landscape of the island. This tin rush is a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. It is used as the solder that binds components in electronics such as tablet computers and smartphones.
Le côté caché du succès des smartphones. Des mineurs travaillent dans une grande mine d'étain illégale à Batako - Tunghin qui a complètement dévasté un paysage qui était autrefois verte. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.
Miners work in a huge illegal tin mine in Batako, Tunghin. Working conditions in tin mines are extremely difficult and dangerous. Miners risk their life every day diving or digging for tin. The exploitation of the mine has completely devastated the once green landscape of the island. Mines are everywhere: in backyards, in the forest, on the side of the road, out at sea.
This tin rush is a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. The demand for tin has significantly increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.
Des mineurs travaillent dans une grande mine d'étain illégale à Batako - Tunghin qui a complètement dévasté un paysage qui était autrefois verte. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.
The hidden side of high tech smartphones.
Miners sifting sand in search of tin in an illegal tin mine in Reboh, Bangka island, Indonesia. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets. Thousands of miners from all over Indonesia come to Bangka Island (Indian Ocean), to work under hard circumstances in illegal and dangerous tin mines. Bangka Island is devastated by illegal tin mines.Le côté caché du succès des smartphones.
Mineurs tamisent du sable dans une Mine d'étain illégale à Reboh, L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages. Des milliers de mineurs de toute l'Indonésie viennent à l'île de Bangka (océan Indien), pour travailler dans des conditions difficiles dans les mines d'étain illégales et dangereuses. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes.
Miners sift sand in seach of tin in an illegal tin mine in Reboh, Bangka, Indonesia. The island is devastated by this deadly tin rush, a direct consequence of the success of smartphones and tablets like iPhones and iPads from Apple or Samsung. The demand for tin has increased due to its use in smart phones and tablets.
Des mineurs tamisent du sable dans une Mine d'étain illégale à Reboh. L'île de Bangka (Indonésie) est dévastée par des mines d'étain sauvages, une conséquence directe du succès des smartphones et tablettes comme les iPhones et les iPads d'Apple ou Samsung. La demande de l'étain a explosé à cause de son utilisation dans les smartphones et tablettes