Room 04: In-Depth Terrains

Wall: Amazon


Small-scale gold mining is one of the pieces of a complex geographical and social mosaic. In a larger view of the landscape, many activities coexist with gold mining. Agriculture, cattle-ranching, logging, taken altogether, these all produce deep landscape alterations and form the so-called arco de desmatamento da Amazônia (Amazonian deforestation frontier). The profound relationship between gold mining and environmental degradation is one of the main axes of conflict, negotiation, and action strategies between multiple actors. A crucial aspect of this relationship regards the introduction of heavy machinery that permits the removal of a larger amount of topsoil in less time than occurs when mining is by hand. This has heavy repercussions on the deforestation rate. Another environmental impact of gold mining is caused by the use of mercury during the last phases of gold extraction, which is a threat to human and ecosystem’s health. Mining terrains extend to water; riverbeds and watersheds act as connectors of mining operations, contributing to the spread of the negative impacts of mining beyond the space of the garimpo itself.

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In-Depth Terrains