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The Hellish Gold Mines of Serra Pelada

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The Hellish Gold Mines of Serra Pelada

Post by Dragon on Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:30 pm

In the early 1980s, Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado travelled to the mines of Serra Pelada, some 430 kilometers south of the mouth of the Amazon River, where a notorious gold rush was in progress. A few years earlier, a child had found a 6-grams nugget of gold in the banks of a local river, triggering one of the biggest race for gold in modern history. Motivated by the dream of getting rich quickly, tens of thousands of miners descended into the site swarming like ants in the vast open-air pit they had carved into the landscape. Salgado took some of the most haunting pictures of the workers there, highlighting the hazardous conditions in which they worked and the sheer madness and chaos of the operation.

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Re: The Hellish Gold Mines of Serra Pelada

Post by Dragon on Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:35 pm


Photo credit: Rudi Böhm

Mining had to be abandoned when the pit became flooded preventing further exploration. Geological surveys estimate that there could still be 20 to 50 tons of gold buried under the muddy lake, which the pit has now become.

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Re: The Hellish Gold Mines of Serra Pelada

Post by Dragon on Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:37 pm



Because of the use of mercury in the gold extraction process large areas around the mine are considered dangerously contaminated. People eating fish downstream from the mine have elevated mercury levels.

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