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Published: June 18th 2012
Don't get in the way of one of these trucks.
Having been accepted onto a Master’s programme beginning in September, I thought it wise to quit the English teaching/messing around and return to the UK and find some engineering work for the summer. Teaching is enjoyable, particularly the lifestyle that goes with it, but I earn much more as an engineer and soon I would have to pay for the Master’s and, more significantly, have enough money to live in the UK for a year without working. And it is far from being a cheap place to live.
As you may be able to guess from the pictures, this plan didn’t exactly work out as I was offered a job at a Mexican gold mine.
At first I was unsure, Chihuahua State not being the most secure part of the world. In fact, Northern Mexico holds the dubious honour of having the most unnatural deaths of any non-warzone. Though arguably it is a warzone as the cartels battle for control of the lucrative narcotics trade into the US. Then the thought of free Mexican food three times a day made me forget all about any safety issues. (I didn’t think about those issues again till
Cathedral in Chihuahua
It was nice to have a day wandering around Chihuahua between leaving the mine and flying back to the UK.
I saw the burnt out police station in the tiny pueblita where the camp was located. The large army presence was slightly reassuring, though the soldiers did all look about fifteen.)
A little Cessna flew the last hour and a half from Chihuahua, avoiding an eleven hour road journey, and from a few hundred metres up we looked down on very little. The orchards soon end not far beyond the city then it’s barren semi-desert mountains all the way to the mine.
I won’t go into what I was doing there (straightening and profiling a valley for a heap leach pad) I just wanted to show a few photos.
It was pretty intensive working 7am to 7pm seven days a week, particularly because after work you went back to camp; which was on the mine, therefore, there was never any mental separation. After about two weeks I started dreaming about the job.
Overall it was a rewarding month; financially – mostly because flights, food and accommodation were provided; experience-wise – because I had never been to a huge mine like that before or worked on such a large
The Valley Where I was Working
The heat and the dust don't come across in photos.
project; and linguistically – rather than spend all my time with the other ex-pats, as the other ex-pats did, I could talk to the Mexican workers and learn lots of new, useful vocabulary regarding engineering.
Would I do it again? Read on a few blogs to discover the answer.
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