Peru is one of the countries with the highest of territory gave in concession to extractive industries. More than 15% is in concession to mining companies foreigner. For geological reasons the majority of those concessions are in the Andean area, over 3000 m a.s.l.
Cerro de Pasco has more than 70,000 inhabitants and has developed around a huge open pit quarry called El Tajo. A crater two kilometers long and wide and almost a kilometer deep from which tons of copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver have been extracted. The waste rocks are poured into the environment causing irreparable damage to the inhabitants and the ecosystem.
Industrial pollution has made Cerro de Pasco one of the most polluted places on earth. If international standards were applied, 100% of the population would be rushed to hospital due to the presence of heavy metals in their bodies.
33% of infant mortality is due to congenital malformations and the incidence of cancer is four times the national average.
Despite the millions of dollars generated by over 400 years of mining exploitation, today Cerro de Pasco is one of the poorest cities in Peru. The health system is almost non-existent, the education system is close to collapse and the population receives no help from the government. The inhabitants of Cerro de Pasco live in a situation of social and economic exclusion.
In recent years the NGO Source International and local activists have been working to push international institutions to recognize the case of Cerro de Pasco as a crime against humanity.
Lourdes and her family live a few meters from a large lead mine that contaminates the environment in which they live. Lourdes’ children suffer from serious diseases caused by heavy metal pollution, with consequences on their life expectation. The need to take them away from that area that is killing them clashes with the social and economic impossibility of imagining a future anywhere else.
2022 Chippenham Museum
2022 Chatelherault House, Glasgow
2022 Eden Court Theatre, Inverness
2022 Oriel Colwyn, North Wales
2022 Newcastle Arts Centre
2022 FujiFilm House of Photography, London
2022 St John’s College, Oxford