The World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha (Qatar) yesterday inscribed the City of Potosi (Plurinational State of Bolivia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger, because of continued and uncontrolled mining operations in the Cerro Rico Mountain that risk degrading the site.
In the 16th century, Potosi was regarded as the world’s largest industrial complex. The extraction of silver ore relied on a series of hydraulic mills. The site consists of the industrial monuments of the Cerro Rico, where water is provided by an intricate system of aqueducts and artificial lakes; the colonial town with the Casa de la Moneda; the Church of San Lorenzo; several patrician houses; and the barrios mitayos, the areas where the workers lived.
In its decision, the Committee cited potential degradation of the historic site by the mining operations; instability and risk of collapse of the Cerro Rico; deficiencies in conservation; inefficient enforcement of protective legislation; and environmental impacts on the hydraulic complex which in turn affects historic fabric and local population. The City of Potosi was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987.
The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee began on 15 June and will continue through to 25 June, under the Chair of Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.