Research | Queen’s University Canada

Buried Alive

This photo was taken during my fieldwork, 2.5km underground in a platinum mine owned by Impala Platinum in Rustenburg, South Africa. Rather than a unique depiction, this photo is representative of the industry as a whole. It demonstrates the harsh realities mine workers face, subject to social, environmental, and economic challenges. Day-shift workers may spend up to six months at a time without ever seeing sunlight, their lives literally passing them by. Few opportunities exist for these men and women to break free of the dark, unforgiving platinum industry. The “X” is symbolic of this eventual cause of death, either directly or indirectly.
Submission Year: 
Photographer's affiliation: 
Graduate student
Academic areas: 
Arts and Science
Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
Buried Alive
Grad student
Faculty of Arts and Science
School of Environmental Studies
School of Graduate Studies
Sustainability, Environment and Resources
Securing Successful and Just Societies through Scholarship, Governance and Policy
Location of photograph: 
Impala Platinum Mine, Shaft #14, Rustenburg, South Africa
Prize name: 
Photographer's name: 
Melanie Jansen
Display Photographers Affiltion + Faculty or Department: 
Graduate Student, School of Environmental Studies