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Bolivia silver mine visit


#1

*G’day; As there has been a good deal of mailing about the
conditions of jewellery makers, gem miners, and conflict diamonds, I
thought perhaps Orchidians might be interested in the mail I just
received from son Ian and his wife Susan who are touring South
America at present:-

“In Potosi; where we spent the morning underground crawling
through narrow spaces and climbing down rickety ladders and
getting the feel of being a silver miner. The miners pay 400
bolivianos a month to the owners for the right to dig, and
anything they find is theirs, though the truck to take the raw
material away also belongs to the mine owners, so the PAYBACK IS
NOT GOOD. (sounds like Catch 22!johnb) There is also a govt mine
for which workers are paid, plus they have a hospital, but if
they find a winning streak it belongs to the govt. Some people
get rich, most are lucky to make a living. There have been 44
deaths so far this year. Women do not work underground, but
widows are often found outside the mines bashing the dross to
bits in the hope of finding metal someone else has missed.In
Potosi where we spent the morning underground crawling through
narrow spaces and climbing down rickety ladders and getting the
feel of being a silver miner. The miners pay 400 bolivianos a
month to the owners for the right to dig, and anything they find
is theirs, though the truck to take the raw material away also
belongs to the mine owners, so the PAYBACK IS NOT GOOD. There is
also a govt mine for which workers are paid, plus they have a
hospital, but if they find a winning streak it belongs to the
govt. Some people get rich, most are lucky to make a living.
There have been 44 deaths so far this year. Women do not work
underground, but widows are often found outside the mines bashing
the dross to bits in the hope of finding metal someone else has
missed. In Potosi where we spent the morning underground crawling
through narrow spaces and climbing down rickety ladders and
getting the feel of being a silver miner. The miners pay 400
bolivianos a month to the owners for the right to dig, and
anything they find is theirs, though the truck to take the raw
material away also belongs to the mine owners, so the PAYBACK IS
NOT GOOD. There is also a govt mine for which workers are paid,
plus they have a hospital, but if they find a winning streak it
belongs to the govt. Some people get rich, most are lucky to make
a living. There have been 44 deaths so far this year. Women do
not work underground, but widows are often found outside the
mines bashing the dross to bits in the hope of finding metal
someone else has missed. In Potosi where we spent the morning
underground crawling through narrow spaces and climbing down
rickety ladders and getting the feel of being a silver miner. The
miners pay 400 bolivianos a month to the owners for the right to
dig, and anything they find is theirs, though the truck to take
the raw material away also belongs to the mine owners, so the
PAYBACK IS NOT GOOD. There is also a govt mine for which workers
are paid, plus they have a hospital, but if they find a winning
streak it belongs to the govt. Some people get rich, most are
lucky to make a living. There have been 44 deaths so far this
year. Women do not work underground, but widows are often found
outside the mines bashing the dross to bits in the hope of
finding metal someone else has missed.”

As Susan said, 'Not a good living’
Cheers,
johnb in NZ.