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Chapter 5

The Rinconada gold mine

a gold mine on top of the world

At over 5,100 meters (16,700 ft) La Rinconada Gold Mine is considered the highest permanent human settlement on Earth. At the same altitude as the Mount Everest Base Camp 100,000 people have flocked here for one thing: Gold. Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia this mine seems to have been forgotten by the Peruvian and Bolivian governments. 
Here various miner organizations lay claim to different sites to delve into the Earth. A dangerous and volatile place located at the foot of a glacier called “The Sleeping Beauty”. The residents here barter with Mother Earth for protection in the mines and a good yield of gold.
Women are not permitted in the mines but you will find scores of them balanced on the cliff’s edges searching through the rocks and debris for extra gold missed by those subterranean miners.

La Rinconada is located more than 7 hours away from the nearest town, Juliaca.

Due to it’s extreme isolation, the inhabitants do not pay for trash removal and instead the land surrounding the mines are fields covered in trash.


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