Israel Fuguemann

Journalist & Photographer
   
Oro et labora: The most dangerous mine on the planet
Location: Melilla, Spain & Nador, Morocco
Nationality: Mexican
Biography: 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... MORE
Public Story
Oro et labora: The most dangerous mine on the planet
Copyright Israel Fuguemann 2022
Updated Nov 2019
Topics Andes, Death, Energy, Environment, Extractivism, Gold, Human rights, Indigenous, Latin america, Miners, Mining, Peru, Pollution, Poverty, Slavery, Womens Rights, Workers
La Rinconada (Peru) is the highest town and mine in the world. Thirty years ago, thousands of people seduced by the gold rush of the 20th century settled on the summit of the Andes, the longest mountain range on the planet at 5,200 meters above sea level, to extract minerals under a glacier.

This town lives from illegal mining, so the inhabitants not only have to work in extreme physical and natural conditions, but also in very precarious labor and social conditions. Without employment contracts, social benefits, drinking water, drainage, or waste management, this human settlement survives only thanks to the lust for a lucky break as a way out of extreme poverty.

The families that live in this place not only have to endure the violence of nature, it also prevails in La Rinconada. In this "white hell" as some people call it, women are relegated and subjugated, the miners think that they attract bad luck and condemn them to work not only at home but also outdoors looking for gold from mining waste.

In this town the police are scarce and assaults and murders are common. If a person dies in this white wasteland and no one claims his body, he will be just another stranger who came like the others in search of a dream.

The Oro et labora project portrays life in one of the most inhospitable places to live on the planet and is also a window into the daily life of people who risk their lives every day trying to change their luck.
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Oro et labora: The most dangerous mine on the planet by Israel Fuguemann
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