Less of a lustre

Published: Friday 15 March 1996

IN WHAT could be Latin America's biggest gold mine Brazil, the world's sixth largest goii:1 producer, has 'reported a major 150--tonne gold find worth nearly. us $2 billion. But this time, the discovery, announced early last month, has raised fears of another possible invasion of garimpeiros or individual prospectors into Curionopolis, the town closest to the site, bringing alongwith it a string of social problems. The gold rush in the'80s saw nearly 100,000 of these prospectors on a rampage in Serra Pelada, which once housed the World's largest open-cast gold mine.

The new, deposit has been found -430 rn below the earth's surface bkthe state-owned Companhia Vale do Rio Doce in Serra Leste, in the eastern Amazon basin. Officials of Curionopolis have demanded police reinforcements and @b 'etter health facilities to prevent the dutbreak of several diseases. The mine'is, expected to yield nearly 10 tonnLn,,of gold a year - about 20,per cent oi Brazil's current output.

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