My first impression was - like the volcano it must be in hell. Toxic sulfur vapor everywhere. The gases burn in the eyes and lungs like fire, without gas masks unacceptable - but very few workers wear them, they are simply too expensive. On my trip I accompanied two workers the whole night shift. The sulfur is deep red in colour when molten, pours slowly from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools. The miners work shift begins in the middle of the night. The miners break the cooled material into large pieces and carry it away in baskets. Miners carry loads ranging from 75 to 90 kilograms (165 to 198 lb), up 300 metres (980 ft) to the crater rim, with a gradient of 45 to 60 degrees and then 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) down the mountain for weighing. Most miners make this journey twice a day.
Some workers have broken bones of the clavicle or thick scarring on their shoulders at some point.
A nearby sulfur refinery pays the miners by the weight of sulfur transported; as of September 2010, the typical daily earnings were equivalent to approximately $10 US. The miners often receive insufficient protection while working around the volcano and complain of numerous respiratory afflictions. There are 200 miners, who extract 14 tons per day. The youngest was 16 and the oldest 60 years old, but most die early before the age of sixty.
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