Brazilian state Minas Gerais (which means 'main mines'), rich with mineral resources, is responsible for 90% of gold and diamonds, mined in the country. It was a long time before its potential was discovered — when the Portuguese started cultivating Brazil, it was considered that these lands are good for nothing. Only in early 1700s bandeirantes, the treasure hunters, discovered the deposits of gold and diamonds. There were so many diamonds that in several years their price went down.
In the photo: The devastated area known as Areinha in Minas Gerais state, abandoned by multinational mining companies. Now it's a no man's land, where small groups of artisanal miners try their luck.

Photo: Felipe Dana / AP Photo / East News

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