In a deep, ugly hole in the ground, a man nicknamed “Slim” stands knee-deep in swirling water the color of cappuccino. He’s at the bottom of an illegal gold mine in Amazonian Brazil, and at his right foot is a vacuum pump slowly removing water used to blast away loose soil.
That scene, repeated every day, is captured in a photo accompanying a photo essay co-authored by Jeffrey Hoelle, an assistant professor of anthropology at UC Santa Barbara, in the online magazine Sapiens. Illegal open-pit gold mining has created an environmental disaster in the Amazon. Nearly 1,700 square kilometers of rainforest disappeared between 2000 and 2013. Cyanide and mercury, used to extract and process gold, poison the landscape, wildlife and people.
Read more at: http://www.news.ucsb.edu/2016/017465/gold-fever-forest.