The poisoned children of Madagascar in mica mines

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Mica is a mineral ubiquitous all around us: in household appliances, in cosmetic products. But at the other end of the chain, it is harmful dust that seeps into the lungs of workers, often children.

  • €17,616 Budget in Euros
  • 2020 Final release date
  • 3 Round winner
  • 1 Location

The poisoned children of Madagascar in mica mines

Mica is a ubiquitous heat-resistant mineral used in our makeup, in planes or cars and many consumer electronics. But on the ground, in Madagascar, those who mine mica are mostly children who work in deadly conditions to scavenge for this precious mineral.

It's a four-letter word that doesn't mean anything to anyone: Mica. And yet, this mineral is omnipresent in our daily life. It can found in makeup powders and foundations because it makes the skin glow. It is used in car paints, household appliances and the construction industry, where it is used as an insulator. But at what cost?

In the poorest regions of Madagascar or Northern India, Mica is mined off the ground and then powdered before being shipped elsewhere, where it will be sold at a much higher price. In the South of Madagascar, the third largest Mica exporter in the world, the work is cone to men, women and even children, some barely of walking age, who dive into the earth and strike the quarried stone for miserable wages.

It is estimated that 11,000 children work in these Mica mines, lacking the most basic safety standards. The children work in clouds of dust highly harmful to health - Mica, when inhaled in high doses, acts as a poison for the lungs. This work therefore investigates the long-term damage to these exposed children.

This project clearly illustrates the abuses and injustices of globalization. How could the image of a child working in the dust mines not appeal to viewers and readers, who are also consumers?

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