The Silver Curse follows the men, women, and children who venture into the darkness of the Cerro Rico mine in Potosi, Bolivia. Scavenging for silver and tin, 15,000 miners labor in the mine known locally as "the mountain that eats men". The history of the mine spans centuries as the Spanish empire founded the city of Potosi in 1545. The phrase "Vale un Potosi" or "Worth a Potosi" persists in the Spanish vernacular today. The history of Cerro Rico has been fraught with danger. The Spanish used slaves and local laborers to excavate the precious minerals to fund their expansive empire. Today Cerro Rico is worked by local miner cooperatives that dig for scraps from within the crumbling sierra.