Journalist and documentary photographer. In the last years his work focused on social and environmental themes, especially documenting people and cultures in resistance, and the always more extensive reality of extractivism of raw materials...
Focus:Photojournalist, Journalist, Writer, Reporter, Health, Environment, News, Photo Editor, Humanitarian, Storyteller, News Reporter, Long Form Reporter
Skills:Photo Editing, Photojournalism, Photoshop
School of Journalism "Carlos Septien" (Mexico City)
An illegal open pit gold mining mine in Madre de Dios, Peru, shows the effects of environmental devastation caused by mining: 25 tons of earth are removed and devastated to get around 30 grams of gold. In the last 30 years, this activity has deforested hundreds of thousands of hectares in one of the regions with the greatest biodiversity in the Latin American region and in the entire world.
The portrait of a man who has worked all night dredging and searching for gold in an illegal mine in Madre De Dios, Peru. Illegal miners use the water from the basin to separate the gold; mercury is also used; With this method, the jungle miners are not only damaging the environment, but also their bodies, which are exposed to skin poisoning from being in contact with mercury for long hours and days.
The work carried out by these men is completely handmade and all their physical capacity is involved to be able to extract and separate the gold dust from the earth and water. In addition to working hours of more than 16 hours a day, they endure the conditions of the jungle, heat, humidity and diseases.
This is the road that crosses part of the Peruvian Amazon in the department of Madre de Dios, this golden line is the one that many men and women follow until they reach the hidden paths in the jungle. They arrive at this place trying to improve their living conditions, which are generally poor and precarious.
A group of men work in an open-pit artisanal gold mining mine in the Department of Madre de Dios. The artisanal and illegal extraction of gold in the Amazon uses an ancient dredge system, as well as chemicals, that pollute the environment. Thousands of men and women have been displaced from various indigenous communities (generally in poverty) seeking employment opportunities.
Part of the dredging that uses small-scale artisanal mining (ASM) uses ancient methods that damage the environment by polluting the region's aquifers (mainly with mercury); once used, water becomes a probable source of poisoning.
An old pipe from a dredging system to extract gold and other minerals from the Amazon dumps its waste into an aquifer. In this type of artisanal mining, old machinery and chemical elements such as mercury that contaminate the water used to separate gold from other minerals are used. These aquifers represent one of the most important natural water systems on the planet.
With a mouth full of leaves from the coca plant (an old Andean tradition), the miner prepares to dive into the muddy terrain where they seek to extract gold. Their job consists of introducing the hoses of the pumps that dredge the water and the earth, as they advance, fallen trees and earth are destroying the land in their path. This work is dangerous and causes dozens of deaths every year.n año. Madre de Dios,
The road traveled by men who work in the illegal mines of Madre de Dios, Peru, is usually long and on difficult terrain to walk; generally, they carry tools and other utensils that are used to carry out their work. As they go through the humid jungle day after day, the weight they carry on their shoulders is getting heavier, but they do not know it or do not want to take responsibility for it; they know that their work affects the environment, but they prefer this way of earning money than facing the low wages that Peru pays its workforce.
The road traveled by the men who work in the illegal mines of is long and difficult to walk. They usually walk several kilometers in the middle of the jungle where they are not easily located by the Peruvian police.
A man who dedicates himself to felling trees so that his companions can continue dredging the land. The forest devastation of the Amazon has increased as the minerals do so in the territory. To extract the gold they destroy everything in their path.
A man walks where there was a mine. Weeks ago there was a mine in this territory of Madre de Dios, after having extracted and devastated the land, the miners move to new territories in search of more gold.
This small piece of gold dust will possibly end up in one of the world's rich countries. This miniscule amount (smaller than the palm of a hand) is the result of more than 24 hours of work in an illegal open pit mine in the Peruvian jungle.
Many indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon have left their communities of origin to work in activities related to the extraction of minerals and the exploitation of the environment; many of them operate irregularly deep into the jungle. This method, which depends entirely on body strength, jungle miners are not only damaging the environment, but also their bodies, which are exposed to skin poisoning by being in contact with mercury for long hours and days.
A man observes the labor camp that they have devastated in recent weeks. According to the National Program for the Conservation of Forests for the Mitigation of Climate Change of the Ministry of the Environment (Minam), between 2001 and 2019, around 230,000 hectares of forests were lost in Madre de Dios, Peru.
Even during the night the work is suffocating, the heat from the engines and the mosquitoes do not allow the miners to rest (they organize themselves in short rest groups): their working day is 24 hours.
In the extraction mines, there are no houses, just a few makeshift camps where workers spend the night and rest while they are not working in the mine. In these camps without electricity or water service, entire families manage to survive for long periods while working in the mines.
Invisibilities, often violated: Hundreds of women are destined to work in their homes, cooking and taking care of their children while the men work in the mines. Despite the fact that the gold is mined, the conditions of the homes inland continue to be precarious, and the families are impoverished.
The systemic violence exerted on many girls and adolescents is causing many of them to be victims of crime. In Peru, 60% of victims of human trafficking reported by the Public Ministry are minors, of which 90% are women. The Madre de Dios area is one of the most affected by this phenomenon.
In Madre de Dios, there are 37 native communities: They are the first affected by the growth of the last years of mining. Many of its inhabitants have changed their old ways of life to join the workforce that extract the minerals from their home, the jungle. Children born in this territory are born in the middle of a degraded, damaged and polluted environment.
Tired, unable to sleep adequately, man wakes up on these stones. A worker can earn around 500 soles (100 euros) in a day of work, an amount well above the average in the rest of the country; for this reason, many decided to accept these working conditions and risk their lives working in these places.
A group of men rests during the shift change, one arrives and others leave, las. mininas work ceaselessly. Many of these men are indigenous from different regions of Peru who have come attracted by the new gold rush in the Peruvian Amazon.
A young man rests in front of an apocalyptic scene. Chaos and destruction is the result after working for several hours in an illegal open-pit gold mine in Madre de Dios, Peru. Under unsanitary conditions, without sanitary security and extreme conditions of heat and humidity, young people grow up and learn a dangerous trade and without environmental awareness; they seek employment opportunities that they did not find in their communities of origin.
Matricide: The devastation of mining in the Amazon
Amazon, Amazonia, Andes, Death, Devastation, Ecocide, Environment, Extractivism, Gold, Human rights, Indigenous, Latin america, Madre de Dios, Miners, Mining, Mother earth, Peru, Pollution, Poverty, Slavery, Workers
During the last 35 years, the Madre de Dios region has lost around 100,000 hectares to deforestation caused mainly by the illegal mining of gold and other minerals. "Matricidio" shows us a hopeless scenario in the department of Madre de Dios, Peru, where the presence of man has generated an unfortunate impact on the environment and the animal species that inhabit it, as well as for the people who work in the mines because they risk their lives in a place where they have no security of anything.