Meltdown, The Alps Under Pressure, National Geographic Magazine: Hazardous Mine To Close

Surrounded by clothes of other workers that are hanging on hooks, a miner undresses to shower and go home at the end of his shift. After 500 years running, a mercury mine is closing in Idrija, Slovenia because there is little need for the metal.

In the 1970s, 1,000 men were employed in the mine. Now deemed an environmental nightmare, it will take years for a small crew to properly close the site. The miners work to fill in tunnels that will keep heavy metals run off from polluting groundwater that would create hazards to clean drinking water.

Buy This Image