Peru’s Gold Mines have become Death Beds


The Human Cost of Gold

Gold has been incredibly valuable to human beings since it was first discovered. It’s even become valuable to our daily slang, we use it to describe anything that’s amazing or awesome.

But not everything is awesome about gold.  The true cost, which is increasing, is affecting people all over the world, especially in Cajamarca, Peru, home to the largest gold mine in Latin America. There, the mining doesn’t take place with small pails and plates like back in the day. There’s big machinery and A LOT of cancer-causing chemicals — cyanide and mercury — used to treat the sand and extract tiny specs of gold. Those chemicals are polluting the water the flows into the populated regions of Cajamarca and people are not healthy or happy.

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And with good reason. The companies that are reaping the benefits of the gold promised economic improvement in the area and never delivered. Diego Cupolo, a photojournalist, who’s been documenting the area, says that even though the value of gold is still high, it’s undervalued “because we pay for it with the lives of people that live in Cajamarca or any  gold-mining region in the world.”

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