The Dallol salt flats, at the Danakil Depression. This massive plateau of salt, over 100 metres below sea level, stretches acrossmore than 90.000 square kilometres. It yields almost the entire salt production of Ethiopia: about 1.3 million tons of salt annually.
Two miners break plates of salt using an axe. Earning about 6€ a day, working conditions are extremely hard at the mines. There is no shade in kilometres around and temperatures can reach 50 degrees celsius.
A group of miners working on their tasks. At the mine, there's a strict division of labour, in which each man is responsible for a specific task: cutting the salt of the ground, lifting the slabs with the help of wood sticks, shaping the salt into titles and loading it onto the camels.
A miner loads the salt blocks onto a camel. From here, the salt is transported to Berahile, the region's main salt trading outpost, on a 3 days journey through the desert. Approximately, 2,000 camels are used each day for carrying, and the load is, on average, up to 30 bricks of salt.
A truck oversees a donkey caravan, both transporting salt to Berahile. Since the inauguration of a road connecting Mekele, the region’s capital, to Berahile, modernity has been slowly penetrating and it now coexists with tradition.
Hussein, 18, one of the miners, rests inside his house at the end of the day. Like his father, grandfather and generations before them, Hussein works atthe mines. Every day, he walks for two hours on the salt flats. He wakes up early in the morning so he can work as many hours as possible before the sun and the heat makes it unbearable.
A man prepares bars of salt to sell in Mekele. Once in Mekele, the bricks of salt are broken into smaller bars and sold at the market for cooking and also for feeding livestock due to its richness in minerals.
Photography, Photojournalism, Workers Rights
THE SALT OF THE EARTH
Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, over a 100 metres below sea level, is one of the hot testinhabited place on Earth. However, for centuries, the Afar people have come to thishostile environment to take from the earth the ‘white gold’: salt.