La Rinconada, Peru

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La Rinconada
View of the city
View of the city
Flag of La Rinconada
Flag
Official seal of La Rinconada
Seal
La Rinconada is located in Peru
La Rinconada
La Rinconada
Coordinates: 14°37′57″S 69°26′45″W / 14.63250°S 69.44583°W / -14.63250; -69.44583Coordinates: 14°37′57″S 69°26′45″W / 14.63250°S 69.44583°W / -14.63250; -69.44583
Country  Peru
Region Puno
Province San Antonio de Putina
District Ananea
Elevation 5,100 m (16,700 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 50,000

La Rinconada is a city in the Peruvian Andes located near a gold mine.[1] It is the highest elevation human habitation in the world.[2][3]

Geography[edit]

The city is located in the Ananea District, San Antonio de Putina Province. It lies at a height of 5,100 m (16,700 feet) above sea level. It sits at the foot of La Bella Durmiente, "The Sleeping Beauty" glacier. Miners who live in La Rinconada while working often have homes in Juliaca which has municipal services and is at a lower altitude.[4]

Climate[edit]

Located in the Andes, La Rinconada has an alpine climate (ET, according to the Köppen climate classification). The city has wet summers, dry winters and chilly to cold temperatures throughout the year, with snowfalls.

The average annual temperature in La Rinconada is 1.2 °C and the average annual rainfall is 707 mm.

Climate data for La Rinconada
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.3
(46.9)
7.7
(45.9)
8.0
(46.4)
8.6
(47.5)
8.5
(47.3)
8.2
(46.8)
8.2
(46.8)
9.6
(49.3)
9.6
(49.3)
11.0
(51.8)
10.3
(50.5)
8.7
(47.7)
8.89
(48.02)
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.6
(36.7)
2.5
(36.5)
2.4
(36.3)
1.7
(35.1)
0.5
(32.9)
−1.7
(28.9)
−1.5
(29.3)
−0.4
(31.3)
1.3
(34.3)
2.5
(36.5)
2.4
(36.3)
2.7
(36.9)
1.25
(34.25)
Average low °C (°F) −3.1
(26.4)
−2.6
(27.3)
−3.2
(26.2)
−5.1
(22.8)
−7.5
(18.5)
−11.6
(11.1)
−11.2
(11.8)
−10.3
(13.5)
−7.0
(19.4)
−5.9
(21.4)
−5.5
(22.1)
−3.3
(26.1)
−6.36
(20.55)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 135
(5.31)
113
(4.45)
106
(4.17)
50
(1.97)
19
(0.75)
7
(0.28)
6
(0.24)
15
(0.59)
34
(1.34)
51
(2.01)
67
(2.64)
104
(4.09)
707
(27.84)
Source: Climate-data.org[5]

Population[edit]

From the year 2001 to 2009, the population grew to 30,000 inhabitants from just a small prospector camp, as the price of gold rose 235% in the same time.[6]

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

The economy is mainly based on the production of gold from nearby gold mines, many artisanal.[4]

Many miners work at the gold mine owned by Corporación Ananea. Under the cachorreo system they work for 30 days without payment. On the 31st day they are allowed to take with them as much ore as they can carry on their shoulders.[6] Whether the ore contains any gold or not is a matter of luck. Pocketing of nuggets or promising chunks of rich ore is tolerated. Women are banned from the mines, but pallaqueras can be seen working though rock on the mine dumps.[4]

Environmental problems[edit]

The city has no plumbing and no sanitation system.[6] Besides having no sewage system there is significant contamination with mercury due to the mining practices. Local miners refine the ore by grinding and treating it with mercury and pressing the mass through a cloth to filter it. The resulting amalgam is heated to remove the mercury.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Altitude of Human Survivability, Maximum (Vertical Limit).
  2. ^ http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/15270290260512882
  3. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/in-la-rinconada-peru-searching-for-beauty-in-ugliness/2013/02/28/aa0dc6b2-7ad9-11e2-82e8-61a46c2cde3d_story.html
  4. ^ a b c William Finnegan (April 20, 2015). "Tears of the Sun The gold rush at the top of the world." (The New Yorker). Retrieved April 13, 2015. Many mining towns are company towns. La Rinconada is the opposite. Nearly all the mines and miners here are “informal,” a term that critics consider a euphemism for illegal. Ilasaca prefers “artisanal.” The mines, whatever you call them, are small, numerous, unregulated, and, as a rule, grossly unsafe. Most don’t pay salaries, let alone benefits, but run on an ancient labor system called cachorreo. This system is usually described as thirty days of unpaid work followed by a single frantic day in which workers get to keep whatever gold they can haul out for themselves. 
  5. ^ "Climate: La Rinconada, Puno". Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c National Geographic Magazine, January 2009

External links[edit]