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Inside the Mines of Potosí   1 | 2 | 3 

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Note: For more information about these pictures, read about our guided tour of the Potosí mines.

Potent Stuff — Our guide to the mines of Potosí, Juan, tells us about the miners' addiction to alcohol so potent, it can be used in place of dynamite in a pinch.
Dyn-o-mite! — Keith holds up enough dynamite to blow up half a ton of solid rock, and for less than two dollars.
Cerro Rico — Driving just outside of town toward the entrance to Cerro Rico, where the hill reveals evidence of the centuries of ore extraction. After rounding the corner here, we'll enter the mines and gradually descend about 300 feet and come out from another mine on the other side.
Cerro Rico — Miners working outside the mines, even on a Saturday, shuttling hundreds of kilograms of raw ore into a truck.
Cerro Rico — Old equipment never goes away...it just piles up and collects rust, setting the stage for the day when the mine is stripped, and all of this will be no more than a "ghost mine".
Suiting Up — Erin poses in her coveralls, boots, kerchief, helmet, and lamp. All ready to go!
Inside Cerro Rico — Inside the mine, cart tracks show the path taken over the last few decades. Unlike the government-run mines, the tunnels here aren't all that spacious, though this section can at least be walked through upright...if you're shorter than 5-foot-4, that is.
Buried Treasure? — A close look at the ceiling reveals some of what all the fuss is about: slim traces of zinc hiding among the asbestos and arsenic. Mmm mmmm!

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Last updated: 02 May 2002 22:08:26