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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.

serra-pelada-1

Photo credit: Sebastião Salgado

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© Amusing Planet, 2016.


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