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Inside the Syndicate Mine:  Typical small-scale mines in the Philippines are a series of narrow, hand-dug shafts and pits that follow gold ore veins through underground igneous rock formations.  Miners use hand tools and dynamite to form the mines.  Four-inch-thick timbers one meter long shore up walls and ceilings and provide just enough space for the miners to use their tools.  The Syndicate Mine is a series of mines eight kilometers outside the village of Aroroy on Masbate Island.  This mine is 400 vertical feet.  One this day, ten miners worked in three shifts to extract ore.  At the bottom of the mine, an industrial sump pump failed allowing the bottom of the shaft to fill with seeping groundwater.  Miners continued to mine and take ore samples even as others attempted to repair the pump's broken gasket.  One teenage miner, already experienced working underground, labored alongside the older workers, using a hammer in chest-high cold water.  The boy shivered as he used a pick to flake of ore samples for inspection.  ..Other views show the vertical drop near the bottom down the mine.  Miners use the shoring as footholds to climb up and down the walls...As the water rises, miners turn all attention toward repairing a blown pump gasket...Story Summary:.Small-scale gold mining in the Philippines uses mercury and cyanide to extract elemental gold from ore extracted from mines and pits dug by hand.  Very young children, some as young as four, are put to work at less dangerous but still rigorous tasks in the gold mining areas.  These include panning in streams or rivers and hauling ore sacks that can weigh up to 60 pounds.  Children often play near mechanized equipment and highly toxic mercury and cyanide.  These chemicals, used to help extract elemental gold from ore, are leached into nearby watersheds where fish and other marine life, mainstays of the Philippine diet, are poisoned.  The high price of gold and the poor economy in many developing countries has led to