weeping tears of lead
the mine sucks the town’s marrow
Kim M. Russell, 16th May 2018
My response to Carpe Diem #1433 Cerro de Pasco
Today we are making a stop in Cerro de Pasco, the capital of Pasco Region in Peru. Chèvrefeuille tells us that Cerro de Pasco is in central Peru, at the top of the Andean mountains. It became one of the world’s richest silver producing areas after silver was discovered there in 1630 and is still an active mining centre.
I did some reading up and found out that not only do they mine silver in Cerro de Pasco but also lead and zinc in an open mine like a crater, surrounded by massive mounds of lead-laced tailings. Dust from the mounds blows everywhere. Since 1996, Peru’s health ministry has sampled blood-lead levels in children twice a year and found that more than half the children tested have high lead levels, most likely from ingesting the tailings dust. The mine at Cerro de Pasco that once made it rich with silver is now consuming the town.