Ijen Plateau, also known as “Kawah Ijen” is located in a volcano complex in East Java. The volcano is most noteworthy for the striking turquoise lake located in the crater of the Ijen volcano.
This lake is one of the most acidic in the world. The blue lava gets its name from the sulfur that is burning at a high heat (creating a blue flame), that flows down the mountain. This is only visible at night and early morning.
This sulfur draws to its heart a rigorous and demanding mining operation, with miners carrying loads with a range of 75kg to 90kg. Not only is the weight of the sulfur profound, miners then need to make the trek up 300m to the crater rim, this having a gradient of 45 to 60 degrees, then back down hill for 3km’s. Miners generally make this pilgrimage twice daily.
With miners insufficiently protected from the sulfur gasses, many speak of respiratory problems and other health issues. The typical daily earning for such a feat is RP 150, 000 ($13.50 AUD), making the Ijen Crater a very interesting part of the working life in East Java, one definitely worth taking some time to understand.