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Price Gold Philippines 0203.JPG
View of the Paracale River upstream from the city of Paracale near the Pacific Ocean.  The area is known for its rich gold deposits and for the technique of compressor mining.  ..Compressor mining gets it name from the practice of using small gasoline engine compressors to feed air to miners though thin plastic tubes.  The miners work in narrow water-filled shafts about a meter in diameter for up to two hours to fill sacks with gold bearing clay.  The shafts are up to 40-feet deep, just deep enough for miners to avoid severe decompression problems when they surface.  Compressor mining is considered the most dangerous type of mining due to the inherent instability of the pits.  If a collapse happens, there is little recourse to reduce the miner...Compressor mining is necessary when the water table is near the surface as it's impossible to dig without water entering the pit.  ..These miners are tending a dredge that is sucking silt from the bottom of the Peracale River...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 an increase in small-scale gold mining throughout the world.