The golden virgin

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  • There is gold in the Amazon, and prospectors have been digging it up for years now, often illegally in rainforests that should be protected. Using fire-hoses and pumps, small crews of five to ten men blast the soil into sludge, then pan it. As gold prices surge, international companies are starting to move in and the artisanal prospectors may become obsolete. A half-dozen men work in a larger Garimpo (open pit gold mine) in the area of Itaituba in the Brazilian Amazon. December 2009

  • Hoses and pumps powered by old truck engines are use d to break up the soil.

  • A garimpero cleans the mud from his feet after shutting down the pump in a Garimpo in the region of Itaituba, Para state, Brazil. All work is done barefoot. December 10 2009

  • The son of an oil merchant dons his camera-shy father's gold nuggets and other locally discovered "bling". Criporizinho, Para state, Brazil. december 2009