Being able to breathe able to breath clean air is vital to our survival and to our ability to perform physically at a high level, however this not the reality for many miners. The working conditions underground are hot and claustrophobic with little air circulation and ventilation making it hard for a miner to breathe. Furthermore, the working conditions underground contribute to the highest rate of tuberculosis (TB) in the world. The prevalence of tuberculosis among miners is four to seven times higher than for the general population of South Africa, a country with the second-highest rate of tuberculosis in the world. It is against this background that I explore ideas about tuberculosis infection and management among gold and platinum miners in two South African mineworker communities. Using ethnographic methods, I explore the key organising metaphors used by miners to understand TB in relation to infection and the impact it has on their lives, among them breathing in “dust”. Drawing on Robert Nixon’s (2011) model of “slow violence,” I argue that miners understand TB less in terms of a bacterial infection and more in terms of conditions of life underground. Their concept of “dust” demonstrates that there is an inter-relationship between tuberculosis and dusty working environments regardless of the mineral that is being extracted.