Informal Mining in Peru | Mining University

Informal Mining in Peru

The rescue of nine Peruvian miners last week reminds us that mining is, at its heart, a dangerous activity.  Dramatic rescues like this one and the Chilean miners rescued in 2010 make everyone feel happy but distract from the fact that ground control isn't the most dangerous aspect of mining.  The most dangerous aspect of mining is the people involved or, rather, the powered equipment used to haul rock.  Powered haulage is responsible for far more deaths in mining than cave-ins. It also doesn't trap people hundreds of feet underground.

The inherent dangers of ground control and powered haulage should be enough to cause a large amount of caution in any mining activity but the Peruvian miners rescued last week were also breaking the law.  Informal mining is a big deal in Peru.  The Peruvian Times reports that nearly 30,000 people are involved in the Informal mining industry in Peru.  In reality, this is ILLEGAL mining that is going on.

The story of nine miners trapped in a mine in Peru adds to the bad image of the mining industry but these people should not have been there in the first place.  The blast that caved in the mine entrance was set by the illegal miners themselves.  Where is the regulation of mining in this district?  Are the illegal miners receiving fines and prison sentences for breaking the law, or are they still being treated as heroes?


  1. While a tragedy will always be a tragedy, it still doesn't change the fact that these miners were breaking the law. Having said that, I sure hope appropriate punishments were given out. At the very least, this should make people think twice before illegally digging for raw materials.

  2. I can't believe that just going into old mines and working the deposit is acceptable in Peru. In Nevada we have a saying about old mines, 'Stay out. Stay alive.' Maybe someone should translate that for the ministry in Peru.

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