Mine collapses in La Rinconada, three miners dead

A gold mine located in La Rinconada – the highest and perhaps one of the filthiest shantytowns in the world – collapsed early Wednesday morning, killing three miners.

According to witnesses, a rock-tunnel caved in and the miners were buried alive.

Family members and miners told daily El Comercio that the Ananea Mining Corporation does not provide its workers with adequate safety equipment, and that the company’s manager tried to pressure the victims’ families into keeping the deaths quiet.

Most miners are employed by Ananea under the cachorreo system. Miners work for 30 days without payment, and on the 31st day are permitted to take with them as much ore as they can carry on their shoulders. There is unfortunately no guarantee that the ore will contain gold.

Besides having no sewage system, no running water and horrendous sanitary conditions, La Rinconada is significantly contaminated by mercury used for refining ore.

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