Men working in an illegal gold mine on the Rato River, a tributary of the Tapajos River, within the Itaituba National Forest. Practiced since the late 1950s in the region, the activity has undergone a revolution in recent years with the introduction of PCs (hydraulic excavators), machines with destructive power several times greater than the methods previously used. After illegal deforestation, mining is the largest vector of destruction in the Amazon. With the help of the PC, 3,717 new mining areas have been opened in the Tapajos region since 2014, according to a survey by IBAMA (Brazil's environmental protection agency) from satellite images. Of this total, 805 (21.6%) are in federal protected areas, including indigenous lands and national forests, where gold mining is prohibited.