Map of Bolivia showing the types of women miners by region
Women miners in Bolivia
Many women develop their activities in mining cooperatives. Another significant group of women carries out mining work independently, under various denominations depending on the type of mining operation or geographical location. And in recent times, women have been involved in operational tasks in incorporated mining companies. Also, the number of women in mining communities, as co-workers of mining workers or in mining-related services activities, is significant.
Women are responsible for safeguarding the mine entry and the work machines owned by the mining cooperatives’ partners. These women are usually located in Cerro Rico in Potosí
Women retrieve gold in the sands of the rivers or pools owned by the cooperatives. They perform their work in a rustic way with a punt, shovel, sweeper, and stand submerged to the waist in contaminated water by the cooperatives’ waste. These women travel from their communities to move into places where gold production is higher. The work they do is considered to be an illegal activity.
Like barranquilleras, they are women who retrieve gold in the sands of the rivers and pools. The province of Santa Cruz makes use of this designation
The raft owners conduct a mining system using this boat equipped with high power motors and hoses that suck sand from the rivers. Then they wash and retrieve the gold. They usually conduct the mining work in the rivers of Beni (4) and Pando (5). These women perform administrative tasks such as buying fuel, paying wages to the staff operating the raft, and selling the ore, among others.
They are so-called because they use a handcrafted boat called carrancha equipped with a low-power motor and lower diameter hose than rafts, which sucks gold-containing sand from rivers. They mostly operate in the rapids of the provinces of Beni (4) and Pando (5), and in a lesser proportion, in the region of Larecaja, northern La Paz (3).
Non-metallic mining worker
They are women who collect non-metallic minerals such as lime, sand, gravel, and stones. They work in rivers and areas where there are coves such as Cochabamba (6) and Chuquisaca (7).