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Alessandro Cinque, Peru – a Toxic State

Even today, Peruvian mining is still defined by neo-colonial structures. This black and white series, taken over the past five years or so by the Italian photojournalist (born 1988), documents the serious ramifications of unrestrained mining for the local populace. Peru has always been rich in mineral wealth; consequently, mining is an important economic asset for the country. Even so, the indigenous communities have remained impoverished and suffer greatly from the destruction of their vital resources.

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The indigenous Quechua people have a special connection to the agricultural lands where they and their animals live
Glencore, a powerful multinational company, has bought large tracts of land to create massive mining complexes
The residents of Ayaviri do not drink the water from their own rivers and lakes, because they say it is polluted with mining waste
Italian researchers found that children in Cerro de Pasco suffer from 42 times more lead contamination than children in other countries
The continuous movement of hundreds of trucks every day causes an unbearable spread of dust, along the mining corridor
A truck is overturned on the road that connects Sicuani with Espinar; its metal contents are spilling into the environment
Because of water polluted with heavy metals, many animals are stillborn or die from drinking from the river
Roxana, afflicted with cerebral palsy, spends her days at the Sagrada Familia special education centre in Espinar
Mining often generates toxic liquid waste that needs to be contained by a dam. If the dam breaks or leaks, contaminated waste can pollute crops and make water unusable
Water is scarce, so many people collect rainwater to use in baths and for other tasks
As a result of water pollution and drought, the economic conditions of the breeders in Ayaviri have dropped significantly
Lucio Humanes Fernandez lives near the Antapaccay mine. The intense vibrations of the explosions in the mine are slowly destroying his house
The small mountain town of La Oroya is considered one of the world’s most polluted places
Farmers put out a fire in a crop field near Espinar, where 40 families were affected after 380 hectares burned
A woman shows her potato harvest in Ayaviri, where mining has affected agricultural output
Peru’s Andes region remains the most impoverished in all of the country
Nueva Fuerabamba was built in 2014, in order to resettle the indigenous Fuerabamba community, who lived on top of copper deposits
Residents of Mollendo protested, for more than 60 days, against the proposed Tía María open-pit mine project
The son of Félix Yauri Usca prays at his father’s grave in Espinar. Yauri Usca was killed, during the huge Espinar Rises protests in 2012