Working in the mines
The hard facts about working in the mines:
- The majority of miners do not reach 40 – 45 years of age.
- After 7 – 10 years in the mines, the miner will suffer from silicosis (lung dust disease).
- When the miner has lost 50% of his lung capacity, he has to stop work and will receive a small pension.
- He works underground for at least 7 hours a day, 5 – 6 days a week.
- Children of 12 years of age will go underground too, to work as assistants.
- There are no lifts and some mines employ a winch.
- In other mines, a miner will carry 30 – 40 kg sacks of minerals on his back.
- A plug of coca leaves in his mouth will make him less sensitive to hunger, thirst, pain, cold and altitude.
- Only a few mines provide electrical tools.
- The minero (miner) will dig for lead, silver, zinc and tin with hammer, iron bars and dynamite.
- He has to buy his tools, dynamite, coca leaves, lamps, etc himself.
- There is no fresh air or ventilation except for the main mine shaft itself.
- The higher-situated mine shafts are in different climates, wherein it can freeze.
- The temperature in the deeper tunnels can reach 45°C.