Salt workers of the Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
The Danakil Depression, specifically the area surrounding Lake Afdera, is the place where the majority of the salt production in Ethiopia is found. The lake yields more than 1.3 million tons of salt annually and around 750 officially registered salt miners work in this area. Teams of Muslim Afar and Christian Tigrayans from the Ethiopian highlands gather daily to mine the salt and transport it by camels and donkyes to a small town called Berahile, a walk through the desert that can take up to three days. The salt miners in the Danakil depression work under very tough working conditions where temperatures hardly drop below 50-60º. In the past, the salt blocks - called amolé - were used all over Ethiopia as money. Although cash has replaced the salt, the trade itself remains the main livelihood of the Ethiopian Afar. They guard and manage the “white gold” as their greatest treasure.