January 6, 1998 |
Explosions shake the narrow tunnels dug a mile into the mountain. Huddled together, the miners calmly count them off. When they reach six--the number of charges set--a dozen men and women scramble into the dynamited hole. Eyes filled with desperation search the cave walls for a speck of green. Eager hands sift through the rubble, hoping to pick out a crystal.
March 15, 1994 |
Four years ago, rival villages waged a brutal war here in Colombia's emerald zone for control of the world's largest mines. Enemies bombed each other out of their homes, butchered each other in cafes and dropped each other from planes. An estimated 3,500 people--5% of the local population--were killed. Then peace broke out. The exhausted, decimated towns buried their comrades and signed an accord.
November 23, 2001 |
Rain-softened walls of a condemned strip mine crashed down on scores of gold miners Thursday in western Colombia, killing at least 28 and leaving 40 others missing, authorities said. The victims were said to be poor people who ignored government warnings that erosion had made the mine unsafe. It appeared that both the illegal digging and recent heavy rains were to blame for the accident.
April 16, 1995 |
Bent double and gasping for breath, Lisandro Vanegas emerges slowly from the mine shaft, a 130-pound sack of coal and mud strapped to his 12-year-old back. His 14-year-old brother, Luis Alberto, is still inside, helping their uncle clear mud from the mine walls by candlelight. Behind the mud is coal, the lifeblood and the curse of this community.
December 1, 1995 |
Five centuries after Spanish conquistadors plundered the riches of Colombia, foreigners are returning to the country to mine emeralds near the mountain village of Chivor. This time around, the outsiders are more welcome than their marauding European predecessors in this mining town, located about 90 miles northeast of Bogota.