By David Cleary
For many the word "gold rush" evokes pictures of the 1849ers panning for gold within the western usa. yet in 1979, the most important gold rush of this century begun within the Brazilian Amazon and has persevered unabated ever since.
Despite makes an attempt via governments and mining businesses to regulate it, the Amazon gold rush has flourished, regarding millions of miners in an informal-sector which produces over one billion funds' worthy of gold each year. furthermore, the mining task has develop into famous—or infamous—well past Brazil, due to the furor it has raised within the environmental community.
This very important anthropological learn takes the 1st wide and balanced examine the gold rush to provide an explanation for its historical past, the social association of the gold camps, the politics and the economics of gold in Brazil, and the results of the gold rush for Amazonia and its people.
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Additional info for Anatomy of the Amazon Gold Rush
The technology used in the garimpo often bears little relation to the complex and capital-intensive methods employed to mine large mineral deposits by state and private companies in Amazonia, but from the date that mineral extraction in Amazonia began down to the present far more gold has been discovered and mined by garimpeiros than by geologists and mining companies. Since 1979 this trend has if anything intensified. It is possible to reconstruct from a variety of sources the way in which technology in the garimpo has evolved since the eighteenth century.
In the garimpo, one can make an easy distinction between machinery that is motor powered and machinery that is not, and for convenience they will be called mechanical and manual technology respectively. But it is important to realise that there is no hard and fast distinction in garimpos between the manual and the mechanised. Even the most mechanised operations in the garimpo require a great deal of manual work as well, and constantly make use of manual techniques such as the bateia to determine how to employ machinery.
From one end of it a wide diameter hose made of flexible plastic is led. On the end of the hose is a metal screen to prevent small stones clogging the pump. A diver, the mergulhador, in full diving gear, takes the hose down to the river bed and uses it to suck up alluvium, which is pumped up to the raft. One person is permanently stationed on the raft next to oxygen cylinders to ensure the diver receives a constant supply and to monitor the cabo de socorro, a cable which the diver takes down with him and through which he communicates to colleagues by means of a system of pulls, requesting more or less oxygen, more or less power on the hose, or asking for assistance.
Anatomy of the Amazon Gold Rush by David Cleary