Now, the fruit of last year’s labor, which looked so promising, is hanging, fractured, from the edge of the sinkhole, or littering the abyss below with metal and concrete.
The stabilization project is currently on hold as workers wait to see whether a plan to pump tons of rock already stripped of minerals into the growing hole will be approved, but in the meantime the interior of the sinkhole continues to sink a couple centimeters a day.
“While they search for another place that allows us to support our families, we are not leaving.” Cruz Palomino says that the alternative sites COMIBOL has offered will require a tremendous amount of labor and investment to turn into functioning mines, and currently, at least, will not support workers and their families.
He also says that miners close to the summit are being made scapegoats for destruction that has many other causes, such as hundreds of years of uncontrolled tunneling, and environmental factors such as rain, which wears away at the rock.
Another operation that is affected by the instability is the San Bartolomé project, operated by a subsidiary of the U.
The company says, further, that its work in no way contributes to the peak’s instability.
Despite the great wealth Cerro Rico brought to kings and industrialists, the department of Potosi remains one of Bolivia’s poorest.