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The Struggle for Air: Mining, Dust, and Death on the South African Rand



The extraction of gold from deep-level mines on South Africa’s Rand transformed the environment in invisible and all-encompassing ways. The use of explosives and drills underground generated huge volumes of dust that changed the air breathed in not only by those who worked in the industry but by everyone who lived along the Rand. This suggests that the impact of the terrible disease caused by this dust, silicosis, has been underestimated.