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Garimpeiros The Wildcat Gold Miners of the Amazon Rainforest


At the sluice box, the mix flows down the angled planks and the heavier gold sinks into the carpet fibers lining the bottom. Mercury is tossed by hand into the sluice because it sticks to the tiny gold particles, creating bigger chunks. The miners beat the gold particles out of the carpet; when they are done, all of the gold should have settled into a bucket at the end of the box. The contents of the bucket are then carefully panned by hand. After returning to camp, the miners burn off the mercury with a blowtorch, leaving behind pure gold. The camp boss measures out and distributes the gold to the miners.