In Gafsa, a phosphate mining region in the southwest of Tunisia, a state-controlled company called CPG extracts phosphate from the hills.

Mining, an important economic resource for the Tunisian economy, has been practiced since Roman times.

The local mining villages of Redayef, Mettlaoui and Oumm Laarayes, are rich in resources but marginalized by the government. They remain poor and polluted, a conduit for wealth. Meanwhile, coastal towns prosper.

Workers lured from Libya, Morocco, Algeria and around Tunisia live on this nearly uninhabitable land. Ethnic divisions, exacerbated by life in a harsh landscape, have produced disharmony between the people and nature.

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These incompatible parts remain in a state of constant flux and volatility.

This is my testimony of the harshness of the place, balanced I hope by the humor of the inhabitants and my affection for them.

— Zied Ben Romdhane

Zied Ben Romdhane (b. 1981, Tunisia) is a photojournalist and practicing artist. His recent exhibitions include Views of Tunisia (Arles 2013), After the Revolution (White Box, NY 2013), and Zones d’Attente (Clark House, Bombay 2013), kushti (maison de la tunisie, Paris 2013), fotofest biennieal in Houston Center for Photography (Houston, USA 2014), Sahel (1×1 Gallery, Dubai 2014) and Trace (MUCEM, Maeseille 2015). He won the POPCAP award (Afric Image, Basel, 2015).

His work has been featured in Irada and Dégage. He is the DOP and producer of “Sabaa Chicken” (2010), and “Fallega” (2011), a documentary film about the Arab Spring in Tunisia. To see more of his work, visit his website.

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