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sulfur miner chillin' at ijen crater

Ijen volcano (located in east Java) has a one-kilometer-wide turquoise-colored highly acidic crater lake. The lake is the site of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor (200 m deep).


Despite the risks (i.e fatality from sulphur inhalation and minor eruptions, deteriorating health) the miners are envied by others in their villages. They earn more than those who work in agriculture and they get paid in daily basis (as opposed to every 2 weeks). As of June 2006, the rate is Rp 400/kg for carrying the slabs of sulfur up and down the strenuous crater and hill (about 4 cents USD). If they make only 1 run for the weight between 70-100 kgs they pocket USD 3-4/day. The stronger ones can make it twice. Due the nature of the work and human's physical limitations, most miners only work every other day (15 days/month).


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Taken on June 28, 2006