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Gold Rush in Mato Grosso After Photos of Giant Nuggets Posted on Social Media

10/16/2015 - 10h24

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RODRIGO VARGAS
COLLABORATION FOR FOLHA, IN PONTES E LACERDA (MT)

The owner of a body shop in São Paulo, Abiude Cerqueira, 38, went to Mato Grosso to attend a party with his family and learned, last weekend, of the discovery of a "new Serra Pelada" or "Naked Mountains", in the small city of Pontes e Lacerda, 450 km from Cuiabá.

He's been covered in mud for four days, digging a hole which, on Wednesday (14), had already reached a depth of six meters. But, until now, no gold.

Like Abiude, almost 2,000 people, according to city hall calculations, have been seduced by the images of the giant nuggets and bags of money shared on social media over the past few days. Images which no one can confirm as valid.

Among those who have arrived are experienced miners, adventurers, the rich, the poor and people who, a few days back, had never set foot in a mineral extraction area.

Wesley Caetano, 19, left his job at a carwash in Indiavaí, a municipality of the region, to find gold. "My Whatsapp was full of images of gold and stories of people who became rich. I thought: it's my chance", he said, another one who has yet to see the color of gold.

The activity is illegal, according to the National Department of Mineral Production, which was informed about the mining 20 days ago.

The site transformed into a perforated and noisy village overnight. The movement of people, cars and equipment is intense.

On the road that provides access to the area, farm pasture was converted into a parking lot and the property owner charges a daily rate of R$ 50 (US$ 12.5) per vehicle. By late Wednesday (14) afternoon, a report counted 340 cars on the site.

Translated by SUGHEY RAMIREZ

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