In Latin America, Informal Mining’s Other Dangers

In Latin America, Informal Mining’s Other Dangers

It has been a devastating few weeks for the global mining community. In late March, a flood in a coal mine in northern Shanxi province in China resulted in the deaths of more than 30 workers. Then last week, in West Virginia, an explosion at a coal mine killed nearly 30 miners. Both accidents revealed some of the safety hazards associated with mining.

Meanwhile, as the United States was coping with its worst mining disaster in years, two nations in Latin America were dealing with mining tragedies of their own. Those tragedies, however, had little to do with the dangerous work involved in mining itself. Instead, they shed light on the region's informal mining sector, where politics and crime can be as life-threatening as the actual job.

In Peru, on April 4, thousands of members of the National Federation of Informal Miners (Fenamarpe) blocked off the Panamerican highway, Peru's major north-south artery, at the coastal outpost of Chala. The protesters stayed there for days, completely halting traffic and isolating Arequipa -- Peru's second city -- from the rest of the country. Peruvian authorities had to call in the air force to airlift passengers and supplies in and out of the city of roughly 1 million inhabitants.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review