Compression mining up close in the Philippines

PBS profiles artisanal miners in the Philippines who dive under water with the aid of air compressors so they can search with their hands for gold.

“First, you get into the well holding a shovel. You feel around with your hands,” says 25-year-old Dindo Leche.

“The mud makes the skin itch. Very cold. I keep my eyes closed throughout. Air comes out of the hose. You inhale it, just like smoking a cigarette.

“When you feel a rocky section, that is the protion that you work on to send to the surface.”

Leche dives as deep as 40 feet down muddy tunnels. He started mining when he was 14.

Leche says on a good day he will make 500 Philippine pesos, equivalent to Can$12.28. On bad days he makes nothing at all.

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