June 04, 2009

Sulphur mining in Indonesia. Hot volcanic gases saturated with elemental sulphur are piped down the side of the volcano before spilling molten sulphur to cool then chipped into pieces and hauled down the mountain.

The local lake is also good for dissolving aluminium cans.

  • I estimate that the thin man on the first link is carrying 160 pounds (350 kg) of sulfur on one narrow shoulder. That's impressive. Sulfur is twice as heavy as water, and the load he's got looks twice the size of two 5 gallon pails - hard enough to carry with TWO hands!
  • Amazing, sobering story. Imagine the smell! I'm reminded of photos of Brazilian gold mines and this photo essay on the shipbreakers of Bangladesh. In some places, life is still cheap. Great link.
  • I think you swapped your units there Dan. Still, I agree, impressive!
  • right. 160 lbs = 72 kg.
  • Sobering. Beautiful. Thought-provoking. Damnit, if the human race has evolved so frickin' much, WHY can't we treat people better. Even with decent wages, proper safety equipment, roads, trucks, health insurance--all the 'civilized advantages--this would still be a tough job. We have it so easy. I wish I could believe in a heaven that these men would go to. They've earned it in less than a month of mining. The complacency and stupidity of my fellow Americans is amazing. I should have never read the comments. Grrr. Free markets. Capitalism. Rah rah. Why don't they just find a different job if they don't like it? Why don't they invent the wheelbarrow? *throws hands in air* Capitalism and democracy have NOTHING to offer to these people, no wonder they turn to communism and religion. Any hope is better than none. Oooooooh yes, the US better save them from the evils of communism, so that they can develop a true democracy through capitalism and live oblivious to the slaves of the world laboring in inhumane circumstances to support their consumer lifestyle. Better yet, let's support our mega-corporations and their corrupt governments to maintain ours. Don't get me wrong, on paper democracy is great. I live in the best of all possible worlds. Love my country and all that. Especially when I look at these kinds of pictures-I cling to the bosom of Mother America like a... baby Monkey to a terrycloth surrogate. Sorry to piss and moan all over your post, poly. They truly are transcendent pictures: vibrant color, impeccable composition. The yellow of the sulfur running from the ceramic pipes is electric. I just wish...
  • Aye, GramMa, we have many reasons to be thankful for our lot in life. No mater how crappily your workday is going, you know that it will never be as bad as this. Kawah Ijen looks to be a popular tourist site - I would hope that at least some of the tourists spread a bit of their relative wealth around while visiting.
  • No apologies needed, right there with you BH. Adjectives failed me. Their protective equipment is described as "breathing through wet rags" which eventually "dissolves their teeth" due to the sulphuric acid. Kinnakeet - I did a post on the shipbreaking mud flats of Bangladesh. You might like it.
  • Yes, polychrome, I did enjoy it! If I'd taken the time to search I'd've realized you were the one who had the original links. Excellent, horrifying story and one I'm surprised is little known. A great post.
  • Good for them! Back when I was twelve, on a smaller scale, I used to melt sulfur (brimstone, actually) with my handy blowtorch. Yes, and then...and then, I'd pour the meltdown into the open end of a paper wound rocket! Yes, a rocket, to seal the top end... God does love fools - at least so far I guess.