with Tomas van Houtryve
August 31, 2016
Visa pour l’Image
Tomas van Houtryve’s “Mine Eats City” will be screened at Visa pour l’Image on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.
About the project:
High in Peru’s Andes mountains sits Cerro de Pasco, a 400-year old city which is being devoured from its very center by an expanding open-pit mine.
The two months that Tomas van Houtryve lived in Cerro de Pasco — meeting its lead-poisoned children and surveying the wounded land — often felt like he was living in a parable. Everyone in the city knew that the dragon was eating its own tail, slowly consuming its wealth, along with the health of the mine workers, their friends and families.
Neighborhoods near the open-pit are on the verge of being swallowed. Heaps of mine tailings laced with lead are continually deposited next to playgrounds and schools. People walk for hours for access to clean water or dip into tainted industrial pipelines for their washing.
Since the mine is central to the city’s economy, few people want it to be completely shut down. What they want is for the Volcan mining company to conduct their operations responsibly.