Grief From Glitter

Charlie Cole for TIME.

Miners crawl down as far as 70 m for gold-laden ore.

Femmy Arimula bent forward over the swell of her pregnant belly so that she could aim the blowtorch directly onto the small, silver lump. At first nothing happened, the flame blazed down in a blue and orange column. Then, suddenly, the silver surface began to peel away and gold glittered underneath. More and more of the silver coating retreated under the blue flame until only a pebble of pure gold remained. Femmy cut the gas off and coughed, something catching at the back of her throat. She had heard that burning mercury was dangerous, but she didn't believe it. After all,...

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