Miscellaneous

The last traditional miners of Chapada dos Guimarães

The last traditional miners of Chapada dos Guimarães

Lucas Amorelli spends time with a family in the traditional Brazilian mining town of Chapada dos Guimarães.

IN THE TOWN of Chapada dos Guimarães, local miners’ traditional livelihood is threatened by large-scale mining companies. I visited with a family and followed as the last four remaining traditional miners worked daily in intense heat searching for diamonds. Spending time with them in their very simple houses, I came to believe that their strength – the fuel that has fed their way of life through the centuries – is the simple joy of living.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Benedict (68) pushes a wheelbarrow weighing between 30 and 40 kg (approx 70-90 lbs.) over 100 times a day.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Salvador (70) and Benedict come to stay three months without finding diamonds in the Peba, which already had its heyday years ago. They recount how this is the only type of work they've had throughout life, starting as a children.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Benedict (68) wakes up every day at 5 am and finishes his work at 5 pm.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

The peba mine is about 600 square meters and located in the District of Waterfall Rica, about an hour drive from the city center of Chapada dos Guimarães.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

These men in their 60s and 70s continue to work as if they were in their 20s.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Salvador, age 70.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

On average, Salvador earns 100 dollars for every nugget diamond sold. The same stone is resold for 3 to 4 times more in São Paulo.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Saviour has spent his whole life working in Peba, and has never traveled beyond the city.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

D. Maria (67 years) lived most of her life off mining, but due to the scarcity of the precious stones began subsistence farming.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Zito (69) owns the mine and says he is happy with the way they live.

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Life in a Brazilian mining town

Hannah (23) hopes in the future her son will have a life away from the mines.

Watch the video: Incêndio em Chapada dos Guimarães (November 2020).