Chronicles of the Wayward Moot

WELCOME TO THE MOOT, oh world-wanderers and word-whisperers. After two years of Peace Corps. After 2,200 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. What. Comes. Next?

9/07/2007


. . .

I spent nine or so hours visiting the grounds of the biggest mining operation here in Zaruma the other day. I was invited to check the place out because I told them I was going to write an article about mining in Zaruma and wanted to see the big industrial style as well as the smaller, more dangerous artesanal style, which I've shown here on the blog before. I didn't get to go into the mine tunnels themselves (yet) but I did check out the locker rooms and the showers and the place where they wash all of the miners' clothes (and then send the dirty water to be processed for any remaining flecks of precious metals...the engineer who led my visit says that by processing the waste water that flows out of the mine, they salvage $2,000 worth of gold each month that would have otherwise been lost. Pretty interesting stuff.

Here's a shot of the sunset from above where the company's heliport (pictured above in case you didn't catch it...these guys have cash out the wazzoo) can be found. Those trees were planted by the company in a reforestation project, which none of the artesanal miners are required to do. This particular place, at this particular time of day, made me half expect to see a brontosaurus prod by munching swamp muck. Looks just like an artist's old rendition of the world on dinosaurs. Where's them pteradactyls at? Did I spell that right?

Oh, there's one now. Must be a small one.

Newly painted houses abound in downtown Zaruma. The historic center commission, I'm told, awards tax breaks to owners of buildings when they perform new paint jobs and other maintenance and upgrades. All I know is that the historic center is looking better and better lately.

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