Responsible mining is “using the safety equipment, taking care of the environment and of ourselves …”,
José Rubén, Honduras
José Rubén is 22 years old and is in charge of the mineral processing plant in the organization Minas y Cuevas. He lives in the community Ojos de Agua, Honduras.
He started working in artisanal mining when he was 14 years old, before Minas y Cuevas was as organized as it is now.
Rubén went to work with his parents or relatives in any zone of the territory,without thinking much about safety or for example: mercury. Now he thinks very differently from how he did before. As the leader of the processing plant, he has a great responsibility of adopting a more responsible style of mining. He has lived through the process of improving the Minas y Cuevas organization, which is made up of people from the 7 communities that surround the mining area.
“The problem is when you have no knowledge of the damage and do not understand about pollution of the environment from the mercury, the water, and oneself …”, says Rubén.
Therefore, for him it is essential to attend training. Although he is very aware that the most important thing is the effort in practice, applying what is learned in these spaces: “If you don’t put it into practice you end up destroying yourself”.
Rubén lives with his family surrounded by the green of the Honduran mountains and repeats the importance they want to share for caring for the environment.
For him responsible mining is “using the safety equipment, taking care of the environment and of ourselves …”. The challenge they have, he says, is “being able to do things in the best way, always learning more and more, and finding the best way to solve problems”.
“I start working at 8 and I enjoy it, I love doing what I like,” he finally explains, adding that he would recommend working in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector “always being aware of the risks and warnings”.
“We have received a lot of support from ARM”, he explains that they have been trained “to take care of the environment, about the use of mercury, errors related to mining that we were previously doing without knowing”.