Marcos Zegers' striking photography series , titled 'Water, Mining, and Exodus', explores the landscapes of Chile that have been affected or disturbed by unregulated lithium mining.
“The project begins to investigate the historical and current consequences of mining in Chile, such as cultural displacements resulting from activities in its conflict with water resources and climate change,” explains Zegers. He has documented the sites over the last 4 years, expanding the series across northern Chile and Bolivia, where similar problems are currently being faced. “Today, the lack of regulations on extractive matters has strongly affected the territory, its communities, and the environment,” Zegers says.
The lithium-rich saltwater from underground Chilean lakes is brought to the surface, where it evaporates in large basins. Lithium is extracted from the saline solution in several steps until it is ready for use in batteries, the same batteries that power our smartphones. This controversial mining process has severe environmental impacts. Using his series, Zegers hopes to bring awareness to this issue - “My images seek to recreate an unknown space through an aesthetic with the air of science fiction where extra-planetary activities could occur, yet, everything happens here in the north of Chile."