Lives at risk in the Philippine Gold Mines
View of the Paracale River at the city of Paracale on 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...A found miner at the entrance to a 30-foot deep compressor mine--a pit one meter square...Compressor mining is necessary when the water table is near the surface as it's impossible to dig without water entering the pit. ..Views of the compression mines along the shoreline at Peracale...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.
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- Copyright © 2012 by Larry C. Price. All Rights Reserved.
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- Child Labor: Philippines Gold Mining