The Man and the Environment 2012

Photographer : Alexis Aubin

Location : Centre des Arts et de la Culture de Chicoutimi

At the heart of Bolivia, in the arid plains of the Andes, lie the indigenous territories of the Quechuas. Mining exploitation there recalls a colonial past that has forever marked South America. The open wounds in this part of the world will trace the path of the lode we relentlessly seek to exploit.

In Llallagua, the region’s capital, the exhausted mines continue to provide the subsistence of thousands of individuals. After the armed conflict for control of ores, capital fled the camps it had once erected, leaving behind the wreckage of a population that had to rely on itself to ensure the continued extraction of natural resources covered by a mountainous desert.

While the Bolivian state renounced the nationalization of the mine, deemed obsolete, those miners who had always been invested have continued their activities in a structured disorder simply by personal initiative, devoid of appeal.

The conditions are even more difficult now that the machinery is almost non-existent. Some cooperatives have been formed, but only 30% of workers are members. Children and the elderly span the rocky arch every morning to leave offerings of coca and alcohol to “Pacha Mama” (Mother Nature in Quechua) in exchange for the tin that they will extract from the Earth.

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