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Mads Nissen

Garimpo Eldorado do Juma, Brazil

Piece by piece will every hill and rock, no matter the size, be washed away with a fire hose until it all turns into a thick slurry at South America's biggest illegal gold mine. The slurry is then filtered, strained and washed with mercury. And since gold is the heaviest metal it will eventually be the only thing that's left to pick up. Eldorado do Juma was once covered by untouched rainforest; what is known as virgin rainforest. But the virgin was transformed into a mud hole of mine pits when a host of poor Brazilians arrived in the thousands. The first ones came in 2006, and since then primitive wooden houses, bars and brothels have been shooting up. At its peak, 3 to 400 kilos of gold were hosed up from the red soil every week. Back then there were approximately 8000 gold-diggers or garimpeiros as they are called in Brazil. Today, just a few years later, the output is about 10 kilos per week.

Object Name
Mads Nissen
Garimpo Eldorado do Juma
Not available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Italy.
Max size
High Resolution
3200 x 2133 pixels
27.09 x 18.06 cm (300 dpi)
10.67 x 7.11 inch (300 dpi)
2.4 MB size on disk
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